That’s how long it took for Thomas Tuchel to deliver a European trophy for Chelsea following his appointment as the club’s first team manager.
Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Man City in last weekend’s final in Porto demonstrated how far Chelsea have come over the past four months, but the title of European Champions will also place greater pressure on the team and its manager going into next season, when a sustained challenge for the title will be expected.
On the evidence of Chelsea’s European success, they are well-equipped to challenge Man City, a side that continues to set the benchmark for success in the league.
But despite the highs of Chelsea winning a second European Cup, recent history of Chelsea suggests that anything could happen next season. Robert Di Matteo, winning coach for Chelsea’s first Champions League triumph after just 76 days in charge, also lifted the FA Cup during his short tenure.
Though, as so many Chelsea managers have discovered, even those successes were not sufficient to be given time to recover from an underwhelming start to the following season, and Di Matteo was sacked before the end of November, with Chelsea on the brink of being the first holders to be knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League.
Not that there is a lot that the current Chelsea side have in common with the class of 2012, a team which rode their luck on the way to lifting European football’s most prestigious trophy. An inspired display by Petr Cech helped overcome Barcelona in a famous semi final second leg, and Bayern Munich could barely have registered more shots on goal in a single match during the final, but wasteful finishing saw the German champions throw away an opportunity to lift the trophy in their home stadium.
No such examples of good fortune can be attributed to Chelsea’s European win on this occasion though, with a thoroughly deserving win over Premier League’s best team in the final, and dominant performances in knockout ties against La Liga’s two best teams also occurring under Tuchel.
From the outside, Chelsea look like a club that is at the start of what could be a successful period under a very good manager, but while Roman Abramovich remains the owner, there is no guarantee that the German coach will even be in post by Christmas should a brief spell of unsatisfactory results occur in the early stages of next season.
Alongside the clear signs of progress, there have also been setbacks, most notably the FA Cup loss to Leicester at Wembley, but also the final day loss at Villa which was fortunate not to cost Chelsea a top four place and add to the pressure on the team ahead of the Champions League final.
In the Premier League, the 38 points from the second half of the season was an improvement on the 29 points achieved in the first half of the season under Frank Lampard, but doesn’t represent the sort of tally needed for a real shot at the title.
So while the potential is clear, there’s still a little work to do before this Chelsea team are at operating consistently at the same level as that set by Man City – and Liverpool – over the past few years.