Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says it has not sunk in that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is to sell the club, with the German expecting “a big change”.

The Russian businessman released a statement before the FA Cup fifth-round win at Luton calling it an “incredibly difficult decision to make”.

Abramovich has owned Chelsea since 2003 and overseen 19 major trophy wins.

“It’s a bit too early to speak, because I can only think about Chelsea with Roman Abramovich,” said Tuchel.

“So it’s very hard for me. It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is going to stop. It’s a massive change of course. We did not talk about it [before Luton]. We accepted it.

“The players have internet connections, they watch TV so of course they knew, they get messages. But still we focused in the preparation only on sports.

“And maybe some players are more affected, some less, but in the end we managed to focus, grow into this game and find the key to win it.”

Having bought the Stamford Bridge club for £140m, the 55-year-old now values the club at as much as £3bn.

Abramovich says it has “never been about business nor money, but about pure passion for the game and club” and will not ask “for any loans to be repaid”, saying proceeds of the sale will be donated to “victims of the war in Ukraine”.

It follows a statement on Saturday where Abramovich said he would give “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its foundation trustees following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I don’t think I need to talk about it, I don’t know as much as maybe you think,” added Tuchel. “I’m not a CEO or member of the board. So, I’m very sure the club will speak to us and the players.

“I’m not so much worried because I still feel privileged and in a good place. And I still hope and trust for the best. I’m not so much the person who worries about things I cannot influence.

“It’s big news, it will be a big change, but I’m also never afraid of change, and will focus on what I can influence, and this is staff and team at Cobham.”

Speaking to BBC One, he added: “We heard the rumours throughout the day, and it’s on TV, and of course when we have team meetings and we eat together the guys talk about it, everybody talks about it. It is big news, let’s wait and see, hope for the best and see what the day brings.”

‘A conveyor belt of trophies’

BBC Radio 5 Live commentator John Murray says Abramovich selling the club is “one of the most significant moments in entire history of Chelsea and the last two decades of the Premier League”.

“In his time they were the most successful of all teams in the Premier League,” he said. “It has been the way he has run the club, the bottomless pockets. Before that we had never known anything like what Roman Abramovich did.

“An estimated £1.5bn of backing, That is what has set his ownership apart. Clearly uncertainty lies ahead. There will be another owner, maybe another super owner, but whoever – regardless of wealth – it is unlikely Chelsea will have another owner quite like Roman Abramovich.

“Before Chelsea we were conditioned to believe stability means success, Chelsea under Roman Abramovich changed all of that because they kept changing their managers and the one thing that didn’t change was the conveyor belt of trophies.”

However, former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin says the news did not come as a complete surprise and Abramovich had “probably chosen the right option”, despite changing the club’s fortunes in his 19 years at Stamford Bridge

“The first couple of statements Chelsea released were limp and that is being kind, this one is stronger and close to doing the right thing,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Chelsea fans will be concerned about the club going forward. The club will survive and let’s get this into perspective. It is a football club, it is only a game, there are bigger fish to fry right now.

“Chelsea might be lucky and get a wealthy owner. Have a look at what has happened to Barca and Real Madrid, teams go through ups and down, Real fans understand that. Put away the violins because the tears need to be about somewhere else in the world.

“It would be good if the club was sold for a profit so it could help the Ukrainian people. The club has been running on getting things back on an even keel for a few years because Roman Abramovich knew all along he wasn’t going to last forever.”

‘Still no condemnation about Ukraine’

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards said on BBC One Tuchel was handling himself “impeccably” but Alan Shearer believes it should be club executives facing the media rather than the Chelsea boss.

“Thomas Tuchel does feel uncomfortable when he has to answer the questions,” said the former England striker. “It is nothing compared to the impossible situation the poor people of Ukraine are in at this time.

“He should ask the executives above him to answer them, perhaps he has and they aren’t listening. It is affecting everyone, we are all watching the news. You would not be human if it not affecting you.”

Shearer also suggested a sale could take months or years, adding that it was a “huge moment” for Chelsea because of the “massive success” during Abramovich’s tenure.

“But more importantly, there is still no condemnation from Roman or the club about what is happening in Ukraine,” added Shearer.

Richard added: “It is a better statement than Saturday, there is a lot more clarity and Roman Abramovich has done the right thing.

“It is so sad we have to talk about this on a football night after all the scenes we have seen. It is heartbreaking. The sooner it happens the better.”