LONDON: Thomas Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager on an 18-month contract on Tuesday (Jan 26), tasked with hauling the underperforming Blues back into the Champions League next season. The 47-year-old German replaces sacked Frank Lampard to become the 13th Chelsea boss since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. “I would like to thank Chelsea FC for their confidence in me and my staff,” said Tuchel. “We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea. Tuchel will take charge for the first time when Wolves visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Wednesday. Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer as a player, was dismissed on Monday after a run of five defeats in eight league games that saw his side slide to ninth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United. That was not the return Abramovich expected after a £200 million (S$360 million) spending spree in the summer transfer window at a time when most of Europe’s top clubs were scaling back due to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Tuchel’s task will be to get the best out of German compatriots Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who have struggled to live up to their price tags in their first few months in England. Despite guiding Paris Saint-Germain to their first Champions League final in August, Tuchel was sacked himself by the French champions last month. His falling out with PSG sporting director Leonardo played a large part in that and his habit of fractious relations with his employers does not bode well for his prospects at a club with such a famously impatient owner.