EPL

Havertz's 'excellent' display thrills Chelsea boss Tuchel

By Sports Desk March 08, 2021

Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for Kai Havertz after the Germany international's star turn in Monday's 2-0 win over Everton. 

Havertz was a big-money signing by the Premier League club prior to the start of the season, having impressed in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen in recent years. 

However, after a solid beginning to his career at Stamford Bridge, the 21-year-old has found it tough going in recent months, not aided by contracting coronavirus in November. 

Prior to the win over Everton at Stamford Bridge, Havertz had scored just once and created only two assists in 20 top-flight appearances. 

But he was instrumental as Chelsea consolidated their place in the top four.

It was Havertz's neat first-time effort from a low cross forced Ben Godfrey into a first-half own goal, before he drew a foul from Jordan Pickford after the break, giving Jorginho the opportunity to stroke home his sixth successful spot-kick of the Premier League season.

The display gave Chelsea fans a tantalising glimpse of what Havertz can offer and Tuchel is looking forward to more as his adaptation to English football continues. 

"I am very happy with his performance," the former Paris Saint-Germain boss told a media conference. 

"There is no doubt about his quality, talent and character. He needs to adapt to the Premier League and to the club where we play to win every game and have the highest standards.

"I think he did it today excellently, he got in good positions and used his potential to accelerate our game and to increase the touches in the box responsible for assists, to take responsibility to finish himself.

"This is what we want from him."

The result extended Tuchel's unbeaten run as Chelsea boss to 11 matches after he took over from Frank Lampard on January 26. 

Only Maurizio Sarri (12 with Chelsea in 2018-19) and Frank Clark (11 with Nottingham Forest in 1994-95) have begun their Premier League managerial careers with a longer unbeaten run than the German. 

It also meant he became the first manager in Premier League history to oversee clean sheets in his first five home games in charge.

Indeed, the Blues have now kept five consecutive home clean sheets in the league for the first time since January 2015. 

The win cemented their position inside the Premier League's top four – two points ahead of fifth-placed West Ham – and Tuchel said his side's superb form is down to a "positive energy" around the club.

"If you play maybe as a hobby or with friends, if you share special moments, good results, a hard fight, this is what brings you together, lifts you up to a special place and gives you energy," he explained.

"I truly believe that this sport is about team effort. I can feel the strong bond between the players; they are not talking about it but they live it in training and this is what you see on the pitch.

"I can feel it all the time. I can feel the support and I feel the positive energy from everybody around the team towards my staff.

"Everybody is doing everything in a really positive atmosphere and we need this to continue."

Related items

  • NFL Draft: Chargers hit the jackpot with Herbert - assessing the 2020 first round NFL Draft: Chargers hit the jackpot with Herbert - assessing the 2020 first round

    The 2020 NFL Draft was unlike any other as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced the league to make necessary changes.

    With all public events cancelled due to COVID-19, the 85th edition of the annual meeting went remote. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced picks from his own home and, with facilities closed, online communication became the only way to do business for all 32 teams.

    With the 2021 event fast approaching, it seems an appropriate time to assess the first round from a year ago with the help of Stats Perform data.

    While still early in their NFL careers, it is already clear some made franchise-chasing picks. Others, however, will hope there is still much more to come from their opening-day selections.

    TOP OF THE CLASS...

    Chase Young

    Nick Bosa was right: Young is the "real deal", for sure.

    San Francisco 49ers defensive end Bosa predicted big things for his former Ohio State teammate prior to the draft having seen up close his capabilities, and NFL offensive linemen quickly grew to realise the problems the second overall pick will cause them for years to come.

    With Joe Burrow going to the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington had the chance to take the top defensive prospect. Young delivered on his potential, with his total of 7.5 sacks ranked first among all rookies. He also led the way for quarterback hurries (37), knockdowns (12.5) and hits (12), as well as total pressures (55).

    Unsurprisingly, Young – who forced four fumbles, recovering three of them himself - was named Defensive Rookie of the Year (as Bosa had predicted, by the way) after helping Washington win the NFC East.

    Justin Herbert

    Herbert was selected at number six by the Los Angeles Chargers, who had a plan to let their new quarterback initially sit behind Tyrod Taylor. The development curve suddenly changed trajectory when the starter suffered an injury just before facing the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, meaning the rookie got an unexpected first opportunity to play.

    The Oregon product quickly made clear there was no need to keep him waiting in the wings any longer, with Herbert going on to become just the second quarterback in NFL history to threw for over 4,000 yards in a season having not started in the opening game.

    He set records for completions (396), passing yards per game (289.1) and passing touchdowns (31) for a first-year quarterback, unsurprisingly resulting in him being named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Herbert's outstanding numbers were not enough for the Chargers to make the playoffs - or keep head coach Anthony Lynn in his job - but have given the franchise a key building block at a discount price.

    Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa – taken by the Miami Dolphins at five – had testing times in year one, but Herbert's debut season has raised the bar considerably high for his quarterback contemporaries.

    Tristan Wirfs

    Wirfs was the fourth offensive lineman to come off the board when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were lucky enough to get him at 13, having traded up one spot to do so.

    Andrew Thomas (New York Giants), Jedrick Wills (Cleveland Browns) and Mekhi Becton (New York Jets) went ahead of the former Iowa Hawkeye, who would end up being an ever present for the Bucs on their journey to Super Bowl glory.

    The 22-year-old provided excellent protection for Tom Brady at right tackle. In 476 pass protection snaps, he allowed just 25 quarterback pressures. That pressure rate of 5.3 per cent sits third across the league among right tackles, behind only Lane Johnson and Mike Onwenu, while 10th overall among all tackles.

    Tampa Bay certainly did not whiff when taking Wirfs, who established himself as a foundational piece on a title-winning roster.

    Justin Jefferson

    Minnesota should be thankful to those teams who opted to take alternative receivers prior to them grabbing Jefferson at 22. The Vikings had secured the pick as part of the trade that sent Stefon Diggs to Buffalo – then used it to take the departed wideout's replacement.

    Diggs did lead the league with 1,535 receiving yards, yet Jefferson was not too far behind, ranking fourth in the category with 1,400. That total set a new record for a rookie in the Super Bowl era, aided by seven 100-yard games.

    No receiver had more catches of 25 yards or more than the former LSU star's total of 16, while he averaged 15.9 yards per reception. A year on, that trade with the Bills was a rare occasion when both teams benefited.

    What makes Jefferson's output even more impressive is he had just five receptions for 70 yards through his first two NFL games. The breakout game came in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, as a seven-catch, 175-yard outing ignited what would become a phenomenal first year.

    MUST DO BETTER...

    Jeff Okudah

    Okudah became the first cornerback to go inside the first three picks since the Seattle Seahawks selected Shawn Springs in 1997.

    Ohio State has a strong recent tradition of providing opening-round selections at the position, including Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

    Injuries, however, hampered Okudah in year one. A hamstring issue in training camp delayed his debut until Week 2, while surgery on a core muscle in mid-December saw him placed on injured reserve, ending his involvement for a Lions team who ended up with a 5-11 record.

    When on the field, Okudah allowed receivers to get open on 88.6 per cent of his targets when having an expected open percentage of 63.7. He allowed a 'big play' on 43.9 per cent of his coverage snaps, ranking him third on an unwanted list for defensive backs. The Lions will hope he can not only stay healthy in 2021 but also play a greater role in shoring up their secondary.

    Jalen Reagor

    The transition to pass-heavy offensive schemes has placed a greater premium on receivers in the draft. In 2020, six were taken in the opening 32 picks, while a draft record 13 went across the first two rounds.

    Henry Ruggs was the first off the board, taken by the Las Vegas Raiders at 12. Jerry Jeudy followed three picks later to the Denver Broncos, then CeeDee Lamb at 17 by the Dallas Cowboys.

    There was much talk that the Philadelphia Eagles had Lamb in their sights. Instead, Jalen Reagor was their choice at 21 - one slot ahead of Jefferson. The former missed time due to a torn ligament in his thumb, while the team transitioning from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts at quarterback hardly aided his development.

    Reagor finished with 31 catches for 396 yards and a solitary touchdown (there was also a score on a punt return, too) for an anaemic passing attack. Philadelphia averaged just 207.9 yards per game through the air, finishing with 22 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. All still involved will hope for an improvement under a new regime this year.

    Isaiah Wilson

    Wilson's rookie season included two stints on the reserve/COVID-19 list, a suspension due to a violation of team rules and just the one game. It remains to be seen how many more appearances he makes in the NFL, considering he is currently a free agent.

    In taking the offensive tackle at 29, the Tennessee Titans hoped they had a player able to compete for a starting spot after impressing for Georgia, including being named second-team All-SEC following his final season with the Bulldogs.

    His solitary outing came in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, during which he was on the field for 4.2 per cent of the team's offensive snaps (plus one on special teams, too).

    Traded to the Miami Dolphins in March, Wilson was waived three days after the deal having turned up late for his physical and then skipped multiple optional workouts he had originally agreed to attend.

    Clyde Edwards-Helaire

    The rich had seemingly got even richer when the Kansas City Chiefs rounded out the opening round in 2020 by taking a tailback, one who had demonstrated his abilities as both a runner and a pass-catcher while helping LSU win the 2020 National Championship Game.

    There was a promising start in Week 1 as he had 138 yards on 25 carries, but that was one of just two games where he made it to three figures in terms of rushing. Edwards-Helaire saw his involvement in the regular season cut short by injury, finishing with 803 yards at an average of 4.4 per carry.

    That average rose to 4.7 yards during a postseason that included 11 touches in a Super Bowl defeat for the Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire was steady, but the pre-draft hype suggested a more spectacular impact on an offensive juggernaut.

    Then there is also the question over whether the franchise needed to take a running back at 32. There were five more taken in the second round, so Kansas City perhaps realised Edwards-Helaire was unlikely to still be available by the time they picked again.

  • Rumour Has It: Neymar nearing PSG renewal, Haaland's future up in the air Rumour Has It: Neymar nearing PSG renewal, Haaland's future up in the air

    For a long time, Neymar had been tipped to re-join Barcelona after leaving Camp Nou in a world-record transfer in 2017.

    But Neymar's future is close to being finalised.

    Paris Saint-Germain are set to retain the Brazil international.

     

    TOP STORY – NEYMAR AND PSG POISED FOR RENEWAL

    Neymar is close to signing a new contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, according to Canal+.

    PSG star Neymar has been in contract negotiations and publicly pledged his long-term future to the club following their progress to the Champions League semi-finals.

    Previously linked with a return to Barcelona, Neymar could sign his renewal before the Champions League tie against Manchester City.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Erling Haaland's future remains up in the air, reports Diario AS. The in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Speculation over his next move intensified as he followed Barca captain Lionel Messi on Instagram amid the Camp Nou club's interest.

    - Diario Sport claims Ousmane Dembele's contract talks with Barcelona have stalled. Dembele, who is contracted until 2021-22, has been linked with United and Liverpool.

    United and Liverpool are both eyeing Sevilla star Youssef En-Nesyri, says Estadio Deportivo. Sevilla are reportedly demanding in the region of £40million (€46m) for the forward.

    - Russian powerhouse Zenit are interested in signing Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Fabrizio Romano. Liverpool, United and Chelsea have been linked previously.

    Gianluigi Donnarumma and Milan remain at an impasse regarding contract talks, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The star Milan and Italy goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of the season and the likes of PSG, Chelsea, Juve and United have emerged as possible destinations.

  • Red-hot Randle follows in Carmelo's footsteps as Knicks roll on, Durant hurt in Nets defeat Red-hot Randle follows in Carmelo's footsteps as Knicks roll on, Durant hurt in Nets defeat

    Julius Randle produced another inspiring performance as the streaking New York Knicks topped the New Orleans Pelicans 122-112 in overtime.

    Knicks All-Star Randle posted 33 points and 10 assists to lead the New York franchise to their sixth successive NBA win on Sunday.

    Randle recorded his fourth consecutive game with at least 30 points, becoming the first Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony in 2014 to accomplish the feat.

    Reggie Bullock nailed a three-pointer for the Knicks with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation before the home team outscored Zion Williamson's Pelicans 19-9 in OT at Madison Square Garden.

    Derrick Rose scored a season-high 23 points for the Knicks, who are in the midst of their longest winning streak since 2013-14 as they eye their first playoff appearance since 2013.

    Williamson's 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals were not enough for the visiting Pelicans.

    Meanwhile, Kevin Durant suffered a left thigh contusion in the Brooklyn Nets' 109-107 loss away to the Miami Heat.

    Durant – who only returned from a 23-game injury absence this month – left the game in the opening quarter, having gone three-for-three shooting to finish with eight points in four minutes.

    Bam Adebayo (21 points and 15 rebounds) lifted the Heat with his buzzer-beating jump shot.

     

    Hawks soar past Pacers

    Clint Capela (25 points and 24 rebounds) and Trae Young (34 points and 11 assists) helped the Atlanta Hawks power to a 129-117 victory against the Indiana Pacers. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter contributed 23 points each for the Hawks, who have won eight of 10 games and are 17-6 under interim head coach Nate McMillan.

    Kawhi Leonard returned from a four-game absence, tallying 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' 124-105 success at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Chris Boucher put up 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Toronto Raptors, who downed the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder 112-106 for a third consecutive win. Oklahoma City's Aleksej Pokusevski (six) became the first Thunder rookie with five-plus blocks in a game since Serge Ibaka in 2010.

    The Charlotte Hornets snapped a four-game skid behind Terry Rozier as his 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds saw off the Portland Trail Blazers 109-101.

    De'Aaron Fox's 30 points and 12 assists guided the Sacramento Kings to a 121-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas All-Star Luka Doncic finished with a game-high 37 points.

     

    Thunder continue to be silenced

    The Thunder are now in the midst of a season-worst losing streak of 10 games after losing to the Raptors.

    Josh Richardson struggled again for the Mavericks. He was just three-for-nine shooting, while making only one of his five three-point attempts for seven pints. Mavericks team-mate Tim Hardaway Jr. (eight points) finishing two-for-10 shooting.

     

    Bridges goes bang!

    Miles Bridges is becoming known for his slam dunks. The Hornets star produced another memorable dunk in the second quarter.

     

    Sunday's results

    Atlanta Hawks 129-117 Indiana Pacers
    New York Knicks 122-112 New Orleans Pelicans (OT)
    Miami Heat 109-107 Brooklyn Nets
    Charlotte Hornets 109-101 Portland Trail Blazers
    Houston Rockets 114-110 Orlando Magic
    Toronto Raptors 112-106 Oklahoma City Thunder
    Los Angeles Clippers 124-105 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Sacramento Kings 121-107 Dallas Mavericks

     

    Warriors at 76ers

    Red-hot Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors (28-29) visit the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers (39-17) on Monday. The 76ers have won four straight games.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.