Who is Chelsea's assistant manager Arno Michels? And will Thomas Tuchel miss the Club World Cup with Covid-19?

Arno Michels, Chelsea
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chelsea assistant manager Arno Michels is taking charge of the team for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Plymouth after the club confirmed that manager Thomas Tuchel is self-isolating with Covid-19.

Michels is a close friend of Tuchel, and has been his assistant ever since the pair first worked together at Mainz in 2009. Since then, they've worked together at Borussia Dortmund, PSG and now Chelsea.

Also a German, Michels never played at a higher level than the German third tier, and was a defensive midfielder during his playing days. He met Tuchel when the two were both studying for their coaching badges, and shares Tuchel's footballing philosophy for attacking play.

Back in November, Chelsea beat Malmo away from home in the Champions League 1-0, with Callum Hudson-Odoi providing an assist for Hakim Ziyech. After the game, Tuchel made a point to praise Michels, who had suggested switching which flank each player was playing on at half-time – something which led directly to the goal.

When can Thomas Tuchel return from self-isolation?

Chelsea made a statement just before Saturday's game against Plymouth that Thomas Tuchel had tested positive for Covid-19, and will therefore have to self-isolate – putting him at risk of missing Chelsea's Club World Cup campaign in Abu Dhabi this week.

"The Chelsea head coach will now follow necessary self-isolation protocols and hopes to join up with the team in Abu Dhabi later next week," the statement said.

"The team fly out for the Club World Cup following this afternoon's FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle."

Current government guidelines state that people who test positive for Covid-19 will have to self-isolate for a minimum of five days, after which they can stop self-isolating if they test negative.

Chelsea's first Club World Cup game is on Wednesday, February 9, but it is not known whether his positive test came on Friday or Saturday. If the former, and he tests negative on Tuesday, he may be able to make the trip out and be on the sidelines for the Club World Cup semi-final – but this will not be possible if the initial test was on Saturday morning. In that case, he may still be able to join up ahead of next Saturday's final, should Chelsea make it that far.

Tuchel is vaccinated, and Abu Dhabi travel restrictions for those who have had a vaccine only require a negative Covid-19 PCR test on arrival, plus further tests on day four and day eight of a visit.

MORE Club World Cup: What's the format, who qualifies and who is taking part in 2022?

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.


He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.