THOMAS TUCHEL has revealed his secret ploy to tackle Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s terrible timekeeping.
The Gabon striker has a reputation for being late for everything, despite his love of fast cars, but it was never a problem for crafty Tuchel.
Ahead of hosting the Gunners tonight, Tuchel said: “When we wanted him on time, we told him the meeting was at 10.45am when really it was 11am, so there was then a good chance he’d be there with everyone else.
“You could always hear his car from far away.
“You could hear him from a kilometre away, so we could then prepare everything, ‘Start the video because he will arrive soon!’
“I still don’t know how he managed to keep his driving licence because from the sound of the car, I don’t know if he was always on the speed limit.
“But that’s just him. It’s hard to be really mad with the guy because he comes with a big smile.
“He has a big heart and gives an excuse to everybody and you could accept to have one or two guys like this in the team.
“It’s not the biggest problem.
“And, don’t forget, that he was also a top, top professional who never missed any training session.
“Never sneaked off the training pitch one minute early or the opposite because he was always dressed and ready for training.”
Tardy Aubameyang has driven Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta mad with his timekeeping during this campaign.
And he was even dropped at the last minute by frustrated Arteta after rolling up late for the club’s biggest game of the season — their North London derby against Tottenham on March 14.
Aubameyang has scored 15 goals in a season in which he was also struck down with malaria and been part of an Arsenal squad which has woefully underachieved.
But German Tuchel said: “He is a winner, he is a winner.
“We won the German Cup together in Dortmund and I never had a feeling that he lacks the mentality when you want to win stuff.
“But, clearly, he cannot do it alone and he also needs a top squad to play in to compete for the highest level.
“But for two years, I pushed him to the absolute limit.
“He was always up for a challenge, always open to stay hungry, was never lazy, never satisfied with one goal, two goals, always going for a third.
“He always looked to the next game, to reach the next level and so I had a strong feeling that he is a real winner.
“I don’t want to speak about his time in Arsenal as that would not be correct.
“We still are in touch from time to time and exchange messages when one of us has a big win.
“In some way, he will always be my player.
“So you want him to succeed and have a good time.
“It will be nice to see him as he’s always on for a hug and it’s nice to see him laugh.
“But, of course, we want to stop him and there is no exchange now before the games.”
Blues defender Andreas Christensen could even play in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester as his tendon injury is not as bad as first feared.
There is little time to reflect, though, with three more league games and the Champions League final on May 29.
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Tuchel admitted: “They are pretty exciting weeks, for sure.
“It’s a tight schedule and fantastic experience to arrive now in the last three weeks and having so much to fight for.
“So it’s on us to bring it to the end.”
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