By Ken Ferris
NORWICH, England, March 10 (Reuters) – Chelsea may be facing the most tumultuous week in their 117-year history but manager Thomas Tuchel has been concentrating all his efforts on making things as normal as possible for his players who beat Norwich City in the Premier League on Thursday.
European champions Chelsea are now effectively controlled by the British government after sanctions were imposed against the west London club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich on Thursday.
“It did not feel strange,” German Tuchel told reporters after Chelsea’s 3-1 victory at Carrow Road.”It helps to have a fixed schedule to arrive on matchdays. This is a routine that everybody is used to and it gives you a structure to feel safe.
“Of course, there’s a lot of distraction, and another level of distraction obviously with the sanctions, and we could feel it and jendela aluminium (http://paluminium.com/) talk about it and are aware of it and we accept it.”
Abramovich, under scrutiny following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announced he was selling the Premier League club last week but that process is now on hold.
Mobile network Three has asked Chelsea to suspend its shirt sponsorship but the players wore the team’s usual blue jerseys emblazoned with the sponsor’s logo at Norwich.
Tuchel’s side are on a run of four successive league wins and are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals as well as the last 16 of the Champions League in which they will visit Lille next Wednesday with a 2-0 lead from the first leg.
“The excitement and love for the game in general helps us,” said Tuchel. “And we demanded it – to work hard, to sweat it out and work together.It’s the best thing to get the focus back and enjoy what we are doing.”
Third-placed Chelsea were 2-0 ahead after 14 minutes at Norwich as the players seemed to put the off-field distractions to one side and they battled to hold off an attempted Norwich fightback in the second half to prevail 3-1.
“The team showed very good character and we can be proud that they produced performances like this under the current circumstances and we are right to trust them,” said Tuchel.
“In the day-to-day like how we arrived at the game and how everything was organised it was pretty much business as usual.There was a lot of noise around but like I said the schedule of the day helps you through the routine.
“I’m happy they could show again that they work hard as a team and are able to produce another win away. It helps a lot.”
(Reporting by Ken Ferris; Editing by Ed Osmond)