Leipzig boss Nagelsmann launches staunch defence of Chelsea-bound Timo Werner

By Sports Desk June 19, 2020

RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann has launched a staunch defence of Timo Werner after the Germany striker completed his move to Chelsea.

Werner agreed terms on a deal that reportedly takes him through to 2025 at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues said to have paid a reported £47.5million for his services.

The 24-year-old will become a Chelsea player in July, meaning he will not feature for Leipzig when their Champions League campaign resumes, with the tournament due to be completed in a shortened format in Lisbon in August.

Werner's decision to make the move to London while Leipzig are still in Europe's premier competition has drawn condemnation among some quarters in Germany.

But Nagelsmann had sympathy for his departing superstar in the context of the unprecedented complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic and is convinced Werner will give his all for Leipzig's final two Bundesliga games.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Leipzig's clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, Nagelsmann said: "I would like to defend him. 

"I don't like the way he's portrayed right now. I read some reports yesterday where it was said that he was not a sportsman, since he does not want to play in the Champions League for us anymore.

"He is a great sportsman who will give his all for us in the last two matches and who certainly will score in the last two matches. 

"If he stays healthy he will play for sure and be a normal member of our team even though he will leave us. 

"Regarding the Champions League, I would have loved to have him on board and would have liked it if he'd play for us. Simply because he is great player who scores a lot of goals. 

"But I can understand his and his team's side. He's coming to another city in a different country with a foreign language. 

"It's an unusual situation due to COVID, we never had something like this in football, with all competitions being spread out, everything being different and different measures need to be taken."

Nagelsmann believes Werner would have wanted to see out the Champions League campaign and says he must not be judged negatively by the unusual situation.

"I don't think one should judge from a far distance what kind of player or human being Timo Werner is. It is his right," he added. 

"It's a pity and sad and I believe he would have liked to play. However, it is a transfer that ends a big chapter of his life and where a new one with a lot of changes begins. 

"It's normal that during this time he does not want to take the risk of being injured, even though that rarely happens with him. 

"He wants to make his move together with his girlfriend so I can completely understand. It's not right that he is being blamed for his decision. 

"That does not mean I would not have liked him to take part in these matches. Timo knows this. He still is a good guy and a great player, so you must not criticise him in every TV show and claim that he is not a good sportsman."

Related items

  • Man Utd backing Solskjaer but 'have nothing to say' on European Premier League Man Utd backing Solskjaer but 'have nothing to say' on European Premier League

    Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward says he does not know the origin of reports about a breakaway European Premier League.

    Talks over the mooted competition, detailed in a Sky News story, are said to involve United and rivals Liverpool.

    The two sides were also driving forces behind the failed Project Big Picture in England, which would have secured increased voting rights on Premier League matters for 'big six' clubs.

    But speaking as United's latest financial results were revealed on Wednesday, Woodward said the club could not comment on the latest alleged plans.

    "I saw the reports on [the European Premier League] and candidly don't know where that story came from," he said. "We have nothing to say.

    "We are in regular discussions with ECA and UEFA about changes to the Champions League and onwards. I can't comment on your question."

    The day after United beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the Champions League, Woodward was more open in discussing "progress" under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    In a lengthy statement, he said: "On the field, we will never be satisfied at Manchester United unless we are winning trophies.

    "But our third-placed finish in the Premier League and strong cup runs last season showed that, while there is more hard work ahead and the path is not always smooth, we are making progress.

    "We have a clear strategy under Ole to build a successful, committed team, with a core of homegrown talent blended with high-quality recruits, that plays fast flowing, attacking football.

    "To that end, we are pleased with our recent additions to the first-team squad of Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles, two players we had been tracking as part of our recruitment process for a long period, and Edinson Cavani, a top striker who adds a new option to our forward line.

    "We also welcome Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, who will join in January, two exciting young prospects who have also been scouted extensively.

    "Added to the arrival of Bruno Fernandes earlier this year, these recruits underscore our continued commitment to strengthening the squad and take our net investment in new players since summer 2019 to over €200million – more, I believe, than any other major European club over that time period."

  • Man Utd committed to 'making the English game stronger' as annual revenue drops Man Utd committed to 'making the English game stronger' as annual revenue drops

    Ed Woodward revealed Manchester United are committed to "playing a constructive role in helping the wider football pyramid" as the club revealed the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

    United announced results for the 2019-20 financial year on Wednesday, including a £70million drop in revenue as it counts the cost of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. 

    The club posted total revenue of £509m, a significant dip on the initial forecast of £560m-£580m.

    It comes a year on from a record £627.1m figure, albeit a drop was always expected without Champions League football. 

    Net debt has risen to £474.1m, an increase of £270.5m over the course of the year, as broadcasting revenue dropped to £140.2m. 

    United's commercial revenue increased by £3.9m to £279m, while a £23m dividend was paid out. A six-month extension to the shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet was also announced, meaning the partnership will run through until December 2021. 

    Exceptional costs for the prior year were £19.6m, attributed to the departure of former boss Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff.

    Prior to a conference call with investors, a statement from executive vice-chairman Woodward said the club will "drive forward" the strategic vision for the future of English football, having been at the forefront of the Project Big Picture proposal that was unanimously rejected by the Premier League.

    United and Liverpool, the two clubs at the centre of the Big Picture plan, have also been in talks over the creation of a breakaway European Premier League, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

    "Our focus remains on protecting the health of our colleagues, fans and community while adapting to the significant economic ramifications of the pandemic. Within that context, our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible," Woodward said in a statement.

    "We are also committed to playing a constructive role in helping the wider football pyramid through this period of adversity, while exploring options for making the English game stronger and more sustainable in the long term.

    "This requires strategic vision and leadership from all stakeholders, and we look forward to helping drive forward that process in a timely manner.

    "On the pitch, we have strengthened the team over the summer and we remain committed to our objective of winning trophies, playing entertaining, attacking football with a blend of academy graduates and high-quality recruits, while carefully managing our resources to protect the long-term resilience of the club."

  • Tottenham form is not 'Spursy' but defending must improve - Mourinho Tottenham form is not 'Spursy' but defending must improve - Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho has bemoaned Tottenham's defending from set-pieces but insists the draw against West Ham was a one-off and not evidence his side are "Spursy".

    Returning to action after the international break, prior to which they had thrashed Manchester United 6-1, Mourinho's men looked to be coasting to another big win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

    They led the Hammers 3-0 early in the first half and, despite failing to add to their tally, maintained that advantage into the final 10 minutes.

    But a remarkable finish saw Fabian Balbuena pull one back and then Davinson Sanchez head into his own net before a stunning Manuel Lanzini strike deep into stoppage time rescued a 3-3 draw for David Moyes' side.

    Spurs dropped two points in the final seconds against Newcastle United, too, with a contentious penalty award following a free-kick.

    And another set-piece on the opening weekend saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin head a winner for Everton, meaning Tottenham are yet to win at home in the Premier League this season.

    But while Mourinho acknowledges the need to improve, speaking ahead of the Europa League clash with LASK, the coach dismissed the idea his team are "Spursy", a phrase used by rival fans to mock Tottenham's perceived propensity to collapse.

    "That denomination is not important for me, the past is not important for me," Mourinho told reporters. "The future is, of course, important for me.

    "What can I say? We are a team in evolution. I believe that nobody has played better than us with the ball, which is a big evolution from last season.

    "We are a very exciting team to watch, I believe. That is very important and that's the DNA that we want to have.

    "Is that enough to win matches? No. You have the proof that we have eight points when we played so amazing in every match apart from the Everton match.

    "Southampton, Man United, Newcastle and West Ham, we played amazing football. This is very difficult to do. But, of course, we need to play for a result and we have to learn how to do it.

    "What happened [on Sunday] is a bit out of context with what has happened this season.

    "Against Southampton, we were losing and we were strong enough to change the result. Against Man United, the worst thing happened to us, which was after one minute we were losing, and we were strong enough to change that result.

    "Against Newcastle, we were solid, playing amazing, solid, and what happened was one of the beauties of VAR this season.

    "So this game is completely out of context. I believe that winning 3-0 in minute 80, we can play 50 more matches and it's not going to happen again.

    "So I don't want to be sticking on this and [have] stories about 'Spursy' and this kind of thing.

    "We just need to defend better from set-pieces. Even defensively, the team is playing very well. We've conceded one single goal from open play, against Southampton, one.

    "Apart from that: penalties, free-kicks, VAR goals. We are quite solid."

    Mourinho would only confirm Sanchez - the scorer of the own goal - as a starter against LASK, with the defender speaking alongside his coach, who added: "The only thing I ask is that you don't ask him about his amazing goal on Sunday."

    Sanchez said: "Of course, [the West Ham draw] was hard to take, we know that. It had to be better. In the same way, we have enough experience to take it and not repeat it."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.