Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly tried to influence Thomas Tuchel’s team selection before the German was axed, inadvertently suggesting he try a 4-4-3 formation.
The Champions League winner was surprisingly sacked last week after the west London club’s 1-0 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb, although problems off the field and a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea’s new owners are believed to be the biggest factors were.
Now, former Manchester United defender Ferdinand claims relations have been strained because of Boehly’s interference in the team, even hinting that the American wanted Edouard Mendy out of the starting XI.
When criticized that Boehly’s decision to be so hands-on was a mistake, Ferdinand said on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube show, “Especially when there’s a lot of wild opinions and wild things said behind the scenes, like with formations and with specific individual players that the new owner wants from the team.
“I think Mendy would be one of them in terms of kicking the ball and distributing it. And talking about tactical things – I don’t know if an owner should talk about things like that. Your manager is there to take care of it, you leave it to him.’
There were claims that Boehly and co-owner Behdad Eghbali devised a tactical plan for Tuchel, who had a 4-4-3 formation – with an extra player on the pitch – and Ferdinand says he heard the same claims.
Addressing the rumored faux pas, he continued: “[It’s a good formation] when you get away with an extra player on the pitch! Those are the kind of stories I hear that try to even influence player selection.
“And when you get to that point, you can understand why a manager would have a backlash and be like, ‘Woah woah woah, what’s going on here?’
“I think Tuchel, the personality and the character that he is, would have looked at that and said, ‘Woah, I don’t accept that!’ Some other managers might have thought, ‘It’s new owners, so I’ll do, what they say and I’ll dance to their tune,” but I don’t think Thomas Tuchel is that guy.
He continued: “The old management team, from what I hear, was fine with talks in the beginning [with Boehly] and speeches and dialogue and passing on the information.
“But then it got a bit tiring and then a couple of weeks before the layoff there was a clear, definite change in the way the new owners were approaching them.
“They weren’t that engaged, I don’t think there was any real contact, no dialogue for a couple of weeks. So I think they knew the writing was on the wall behind the scenes.”
He added: “I think the big problem that a lot of people have behind the scenes at Chelsea is: why let him have the money when you knew you were going to get rid of him?
“It’s a clear lack of understanding of football. It must be. This guy understands how to run American sports teams, but it’s very different how they transfer and recruit players, a very different model.
“I think there was a lack of understanding in that area because I don’t know of any company in any other industry – including football – that would allow someone at the top to spend a quarter of a billion pounds and then say, ‘But you’ll don’t run it for us’ and let someone else step in.’
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