‘It’s hard to be really mad at the man … he’s got a big heart’: Thomas Tuchel praises the ‘crazy’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his loud cars as he fondly recalls their time together in Dortmund prior to the reunion, even if his timekeeping was awful!
- Thomas Tuchel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be reunited on Wednesday
- The Chelsea boss will take on the Arsenal attacker at Stamford Bridge
- The pair were managers and players at Borussia Dortmund between 2015 and 2017
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pace and engaging personality made a lasting impression on Thomas Tuchel.
This also applied to his punctuality. Or rather his lack of it, which prompted Tuchel to develop a trick to ensure the striker arrived on time when they spent two years working together at Borussia Dortmund.
“It was a real pleasure to have him on the roster,” said the Chelsea head coach, as he prepared for Arsenal and Aubameyang at Stamford Bridge Wednesday night.
Thomas Tuchel has provided a wonderful reference for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
‘A fantastic attacker, a fantastic finisher but above all a fantastic worker off the field. Always with a smile on his face. Very, very honest. A bit of a crazy guy, but nice and crazy.
‘He hasn’t missed any training in two years. Maybe he arrived five minutes late, that could happen to him, but when he does this he is in a rush, has excuses, is sorry and still has a smile on his face. That’s him, and it’s hard to be really mad at him. He has a big heart.
When we wanted him to be on time, we told him the meeting was 10:45 am and the meeting was 11:00 am, so chances were he would be there with everyone else. You could hear his car from a mile away. We can prepare everything, start the video, because it is coming soon.
“I still don’t know how he managed to keep the driver’s license in his pocket, because the sound of the car doesn’t tell me if he was always on the speed limit.”
In March, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta canceled Aubameyang for the derby against Tottenham because he was late for a team meeting.
Tuchel and Aubameyang enjoyed a fertile period together at Borussia Dortmund
It has been a difficult campaign for the Arsenal captain. The goals have dried up and his flow has been disrupted. First he missed games when his mother developed a health problem and later when he contracted malaria while on his international service with Gabon.
In Dortmund with Tuchel he thrived, scoring 79 goals in 95 appearances from 2015-17, including the winner, a penalty, in the German cup final in 2017.
“He has delivered an incredible number of goals,” said Tuchel. “His speed was unique in the Bundesliga and he was a crucial player.”
Chelsea’s head coach admits to being surprised that the 31-year-old has not collected more major trophies. “Yes, because he’s a winner,” he said. ‘I never had the feeling that he lacks a certain mentality. But he clearly cannot do it alone. He also needs a top team to compete for the highest level.
The Gabon striker has had a tough season with Arsenal since signing his new contract
‘In my experiences with Auba you could push him to the limit and he was always ready for a challenge, open to the next step, open to stay hungry, never lazy, never satisfied with one goal, two goals, always for a third . I had a strong feeling that he is a real winner and that you can rely on him. ‘
Tuchel declined to comment on Aubameyang’s recent fight at Arsenal. “That wouldn’t be right,” he insisted, unsure whether they will work together again.
But he is looking forward to Wednesday’s reunion. “We exchange messages when one of us has a big win,” said Tuchel. In some ways it feels like he will always be my player so you want him to succeed and have a good time. It will be nice to see him because he is always looking for a hug and it is nice to see him smile, but of course we want to stop him. ‘
Tuchel has made a huge impact at Chelsea, reaching the FA Cup and Champions League finals