Thomas Tuchel acknowledged the full extent of the off-field chaos engulfing Chelsea is yet to be realised, but he defiantly vowed they will keep competing so long as they have a kit and a bus.
Chelsea beat Norwich City at Carrow Road on Thursday, with their 3-1 win inspired by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.
But earlier in the day it was confirmed by the UK government that club owner Roman Abramovich was among the latest high-profile Russian individuals and entities to be hit with sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, who has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, was in the process of attempting to sell Chelsea, and the sanctions have put the sale in doubt despite the oligarch claiming the proceeds would have been donated to victims of the war.
While Chelsea were granted a special sporting licence to continue operating as a football club, measures have been imposed upon them including a ban on selling merchandise and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.
Additionally, the first team is not allowed to spend more than £20,000 on away travel, and any income from TV broadcast rights or competition prize money will be frozen.
Shirt sponsor Three has already suspended its agreement with the club while other partners are assessing contracts, and Tuchel realises things may get even worse for the club.
“I didn’t see that coming yesterday and I don’t know what is coming tomorrow,” Tuchel told reporters after the defeat of Norwich.
“The level of impact it has, the news of today is big, in time we don’t know how big. We cannot influence it.”
Yet the German cut a largely relaxed figure, seemingly at peace with the fact there is nothing he nor his players can do to affect the situation.
For them, it is a case of business as usual, where possible, with Tuchel adamant he remains committed to leading the team.
“I am still happy to be here and still happy to be manager of a strong team,” he continued.
“So far we can trust each other and this will not change. As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games, we will be there and will compete hard.
“Everybody can be very sure that we focus on us, to keep the attitude and the mentality right on the training ground and within the team.”
Chelsea are in action again on Sunday as they welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge.