EPL

Werner getting 'stronger and stronger' – Tuchel not worried by striker's barren run

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists Timo Werner is getting "stronger and stronger" despite the Germany international's goalless run in the Premier League now stretching to 14 games. 

Werner arrived at Stamford Bridge with a reputation as a prolific goalscorer following his move from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. 

But the 24-year-old has scored just four times in 22 Premier League appearances, with his blank in Sunday's 2-1 win at Sheffield United stretching his barren run even further. 

While he did not get on the scoresheet, he was in the thick of the action as Chelsea made it three wins on the bounce under new boss Tuchel. 

His low cross was clinically dispatched by Mason Mount to put the Blues ahead shortly before the interval, bringing up his sixth assist in all competitions this season – the most of any Chelsea player. 

He then drew a foul from Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, providing Jorginho with the opportunity to restore the visitors' advantage from the penalty spot following Antonio Rudiger's calamitous own goal. 

Despite another scoreless outing, Tuchel has no doubts Werner is on the right track to becoming a success at Chelsea. 

"It was a brilliant run for the first goal and it was great decision making for the second goal to go around the goalkeeper," said the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach.

"It was good defending from their defenders but he worked incredibly hard and disciplined against the ball. It gave him a boost. I feel he is getting stronger and stronger every day. Today he was more free and I could really feel him on the pitch.

"He was absolutely in the game mentally and physically and he was decisive. This is the most important thing because if he can continue like this the goals will come, for sure."

Tuchel has overseen three wins and one draw in his opening four games as Chelsea boss, with their one goal conceded the fewest through a manager's first four league games in charge since Guus Hiddink in 2009.

Their latest win moved them up to fifth, just one point behind fourth-place Liverpool, but Tuchel insists his side will not get ahead of themselves and are firmly focused on their FA Cup fifth-round clash with Barnsley on Thursday.

"What would it help to talk about it [finishing in he top four]?" he added. "It is clear that we are responsible now for a situation where we are close to where we want to be. We want to try everything to reach the top four and we said this very clearly when we started.

"So, now the guys put themselves in the situation where we are the hunters for the teams in front of us and we are close. It changes nothing because the next game in the league will be a home game and like everybody else we will be under the pressure to continue our run and build on the momentum. 

"Today is the best example. What will it help you if you see that Sheffield United are very, very low, but if you analyse the team you see their result against Manchester United.

"They are bottom of the league, but you have to come here, accept the challenge, play humble. This is what you do and from there on it is now the next challenge to improve, play in the FA Cup and the next game and keep on going. The future will take care of itself."

Related items

  • European Super League: Breakaway competition appears to crumble as Chelsea, Man City lead reported exodus European Super League: Breakaway competition appears to crumble as Chelsea, Man City lead reported exodus

    The European Super League seems to have crumbled before it started, with four of the 12 teams reportedly set to withdraw.

    News broke on Tuesday evening, European time, that Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were preparing to pull out of the breakaway competition, which was announced amid much furore on Sunday. 

    The Premier League's "big six" plus sides from Italy and Spain confirmed their intention to form a new tournament, which would not feature promotion or relegation. 

    It is a move that has drawn widespread criticism from across the game and beyond, with governing bodies, governments, fellow football clubs, players and managers condemning the action.

    After huge protests outside Stamford Bridge ahead of their game against Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea were reportedly the first team to crack, with rumours of their imminent withdrawal appearing in several credible publications.

    The scheduled 20:15 GMT kick-off of Chelsea v Brighton was then put back by 15 minutes.

    Similar reports followed regarding City, whose manager Pep Guardiola confirmed his opposition to the proposal while previewing Wednesday's meeting with Aston Villa.

    Meanwhile, reports in Spain suggested LaLiga giants Barca and Atleti had also informed organisers of their intention to leave the competition, within 24 hours of Real Madrid supremo Florentino Perez giving an extensive interview in defence of the Super League that in hindsight looks to have done little to help its cause.

    It remains to be seen if any punishment will be handed out to the clubs. UEFA, with the backing of FIFA, vowed to deal harsh sanctions to the teams involved, while in England, the Premier League promised to do "everything in its power" to stop the breakaway from coming to fruition. 

  • European Super League: Milan chief Gazidis claims breakaway will 'capture the imagination' European Super League: Milan chief Gazidis claims breakaway will 'capture the imagination'

    Milan are "proud" to be part of Serie A but their chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes the European Super League will open up football to billions of fans.

    The Rossoneri, along with Juventus and Inter, were among 12 teams included in Sunday's seismic Super League announcement.

    Reaction has been sustained and vitriolic, with UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League among those to condemn the plans, alongside Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola – despite Liverpool and Manchester City also being on the initial roster.

    Those involved have been accused of undermining their domestic competitions, by foregoing the challenge of qualifying for continental competitions in favour of a closed-shop arrangement.

    Nevertheless, Gazidis sought to reaffirm his club's commitment to Italy's top flight in a letter to commercial partners and sponsors.

    "Serie A will remain the most important weekend competition in Italy and Milan are proud to remain an important part of the pinnacle of Italian football," he said.

    "We're confident that this new competition will capture the imagination of billions of football fans all over the world and will be a new, exciting chapter for the game.

    "The Super League will provide value and support to the whole football pyramid with greater financial resources."

    Milan are back in action at home to Sassuolo on Wednesday, with solidifying a spot in the top four the priority for head coach Stefano Pioli – irrespective of what that might now mean in the greater scheme of things.

    “Milan have never finished top four in the last few years. It would be an important target for us that would prove our growth,” Pioli told a pre-match news conference.

    “We have a target, and it's an important one. We are focused on this. We'll see what happens in the future. I repeat, this is not the right time to talk about the Super League."

  • European Super League: Trezeguet says domestic leagues 'will lose their charm' European Super League: Trezeguet says domestic leagues 'will lose their charm'

    David Trezeguet believes domestic leagues will "lose their charm" and suffer huge damage as a result of the European Super League.

    The 12 founding clubs of the breakaway competition have indicated they want to remain in their domestic leagues, despite threats of severe punishments.

    But World Cup winner Trezeguet, whose former club Juventus are among the group, thinks the excitement will disappear from the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.

    He also fears for the Champions League's lustre should UEFA attempt to continue with it if the European Super League is ultimately launched.

    Trezeguet said to Stats Perform News: "From an emotional side it is nice to conquer your right to play in the Champions League and Europa League on the pitch. 

    "At the moment in Italy we discuss if Juventus can qualify, if Napoli can overtake them, if Lazio can get closer. 

    "All these everyday chats will be lost because with the Super League you already know those three clubs [Juventus, Inter and Milan] will be in and maybe somebody else will be added.

    "Although they clearly stated they would go on, domestic leagues will lose their charm.

    "You lose the charm of understanding clubs' goals... who aims at Champions League? Who at the Europa League? And other goals.

    "And the Champions League will lose these 12 big clubs who boast a big enchantment on marketing and fans." 

    But Trezeguet understands why top clubs would be tempted by the huge financial rewards on offer after the coronavirus pandemic.

    He added: "Read the economic value of the Super League and what Florentino Perez said [about huge financial losses]. If these are the losses, they are huge and they are due to the pandemic. 

    "My opinion is divided. They even said they don't want to give up on other [clubs] - this is yet to be verified. 

    "If you read those figures, you see a big leap in quality [of finances] for these 12 clubs but whether they will help the others is yet to be seen. 

    "But from an emotional point of view I don't agree because you lose the principle of qualifying on the pitch. 

    "We all know for sure that football has become a big business but lest we forget the sporting side of this game. 

    "Earning your titles, playing a high-level season that makes you qualify for European cups - this is a job well done. 

    "I know these big clubs are used to playing at such levels.

    "But from an emotional viewpoint I am perplexed because you already know these three clubs [in Italy or Spain] will be automatically qualified regardless of their seasonal path in the league."

    Trezeguet foresees a lengthy political battle ahead and is unsure whether players and fans will ultimately be listened to.

    He added: "It will be a long bureaucratic clash and it is not a surprise. The Super League on one hand and the UEFA on the other have been very clear. 

    "They have both their ideas and formats and the economic part should not be forgotten since these figures [for losses] are huge.

    "First we have to see if they will be able to do the Super League as I was watching Leeds v Liverpool and already you can see fans were emotional. 

    "And the UEFA president gave a speech that was more emotional than concrete about treason, wrong ideas, phone calls unreturned.

    "But it is true that we are entering in a critical moment. UEFA and FIFA were straightforward on this from a sporting point of view. 

    "Politicians in very important football countries like France, Germany and England have opposed the Super League. 

    "Even in Italy and Spain the prime minister and the ministers have backed UEFA rather than the Super League. Now it is politics.

    "The players will be the least listened to - this Super League has been decided without even consulting the players or the fans. 

    "What has struck me is fans and players coming forward very clearly against it. Will it go on regardless? We'll see."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.