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Tuchel: I lied to Auba about the meeting times

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he lied to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when meetings were held at Borussia Dortmund to facilitate his timing and questioned how the Arsenal striker kept his driver’s license during his time together in Germany.

Tuchel came to Dortmund in 2015, where he headed Aubameyang for two years. In 2017 they won the DFB Cup together, with the striker also topping the Bundesliga scorers list.

Aubameyang has largely continued this productive form since joining the Gunners in January 2018, although his form has waned during the current campaign, hampered by off-field issues, including being out of the North London Derby win in March against Tottenham Hotspur, who was reported late before the game on the training ground.

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Before their reunion on Wednesday when Arsenal visited Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, Tuchel was full of praise for Aubameyang but suggested that this was far from the first time the 31-year-old has had on-time issues.

“It is not his strength to be absolutely punctual,” said Tuchel. “He was pretty much the only one. When we wanted him to be on time, we just told him the meeting was at 10:45 am [when] The meeting was at 11:00 a.m. Then we had a good chance that he would be there with everyone else!

“And you could hear him, you could hear the car from afar. You could always hear on the last kilometer [the car’s engine]We could prepare everything and start the video as it will be arriving soon!

“I don’t know and I still don’t know how he managed to keep his driver’s license in his pocket for the two years because I don’t know from the sound of the car whether he was always at the speed limit and he was always in last minute!

“That’s him. It’s hard to be really mad at the guy because he comes with a big smile, he opens his heart, he apologizes to everyone and OK, we could accept one or two such guys on a team to have .

“It’s not the biggest problem. Don’t forget that he was a top professional. I don’t think he missed a training session, he never snuck off the training field a minute early. The opposite, when he was dressed, he was ready. It was nice to have him. “

Tuchel’s stance differs significantly from Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s reaction to Aubameyang’s poor timing, which dropped him off Arsenal’s grid for “violating pre-game protocols”.

Aubameyang’s relationship with Arteta seemed strained during a difficult season when his mother fell ill and he battled malaria. In contrast, Tuchel claims he still feels strongly connected to the Gabonese international.

“It was a pleasure to work with, always a smile on my face, a very, very honest guy, a little bit crazy, but that’s pretty crazy,” he added. “We are still in touch from time to time, exchanging messages when some of us have a big win. He will, in a way, always be my player.”

“They want them to succeed and have a good time wherever they are. This contact has never completely stopped and it’s nice to see him because he’s always hugged and it’s nice to hug him and laugh see.

“He’s a winner. We won the trophy together in Dortmund and I never had the feeling that he lacks the certain mentality that you need if you want to win something. But of course he can’t do it alone and he needs it too a top.” Squad to play and fight for the highest level. But I can only say my experience with Auba for two years, you could push him to his limits and he was always ready for the challenge. “

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Melinda Martin