Thomas Tuchel's transformation of Chelsea's defence was the key to their stunning turnaround in fortunes following Frank Lampard's dismissal, according to former Blues midfielder and assistant head coach Eddie Newton.

Lampard was sacked on January 25 after a run of just two wins in eight Premier League games left Chelsea ninth, 11 points off the summit. 

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel was swiftly appointed and oversaw an impressive second half of the season, culminating in a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday, Kai Havertz scoring the decisive goal shortly before half-time. 

Tuchel also sealed a top-four finish for Chelsea and guided them to the FA Cup final, although they ultimately lost that to Leicester City. 

Lampard and Tuchel were both in charge for 30 games across all competitions in the 2020-21 campaign, with the Blues conceding just 16 under the German compared to 31 in their former manager's games. 

And Newton, who played for Chelsea between 1990 and 1999 and had spells as assistant head coach in 2012 and 2015-16, is in no doubt the success is down to Tuchel's work on remodelling the backline. 

"Frank wanted to be on the front foot and the team was fundamentally in his personality," Newton told Stats Perform.

"He's a very offensive-thinking person, which leaves gaps at the back and towards the end they were getting punished on a regular basis. What Tuchel has done is put right the defensive side.

"He's also brought back senior players into the fold that were not in favour under Frank. Seniority brings stability and more nous about how to get through games when you're struggling. He brought that in.

"He changed the formation by playing three defenders at the back. It became multi-faceted.

"It's been fantastic stuff since he's come in. He's grabbed the bull by its horns and put down the foundations of what he wants to do.

"He's giving clear, concise information to everyone. Getting the results that he has, the players have bought into him. You can see the fight and that comes from the belief the coach has instilled into that team."

Tuchel once again chose Timo Werner to lead the line against City despite the Germany international's struggles in front of goal this season. 

He arrived from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

Werner scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

He has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 52 appearances across all competitions. He finished the Premier League season with a shot conversion rate of just 7.59 per cent.

While Newton is impressed with Werner's work ethic, he believes Tuchel will need to sign an established central striker for the 2021-22 campaign, with Chelsea having been linked to Harry Kane and Erling Haaland.

"He hasn't played with a number nine," Newton said. "Werner's work rate, even though he's not been clinical in front of goal, is what he admires and I'm sure his team-mates do as well. 

"He's willing to commit for the team. He's selfless, unlike other strikers, and works immensely hard for the team and that's where their defending starts from. It makes it easier for the team to defend.

"It's going to be interesting to see what he does next season. They can't continue without a number nine. Havertz is not a nine and won't be happy playing there. Werner is not a natural number nine; he likes to come in off the left and right. 

"It's going to be interesting to see how Tuchel addresses that situation. If they bring in a number nine, where do you put Havertz and Werner?"

Chelsea forward Timo Werner admits to having mixed emotions as he approaches the conclusion of the "worst and unluckiest season" of his career.

The Germany international joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

He scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

Werner has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 51 appearances in 2020-21.

However, Werner has also contributed 15 assists and is the first Chelsea player since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 to both score and assist 10 or more goals in a single season.

And while the former Leipzig man accepts more will be required of him next season, he is keen to take some positives from the 2020-21 campaign, which concludes with Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester City.

"In terms of scoring and missing chances, it was the worst season, but in the end I still have 27 goal contributions," he told The Telegraph.

"I think I'm the first in our team for that, so it was not everything bad.

"A lot of people's expectations for me outside the club but also inside were very high because of my goalscoring record. I also assisted many goals last year in my old club.

"But I think the main reason why they brought me here in the club is to score and maybe at the end 12 goals and six goals in the Premier League, that's not good enough. 

"You have to say that I have 12 goals and 15 assists or something like that in every competition and 27 goal contributions – that's not so bad in what's maybe my unluckiest season.

"It is also maybe my worst season I've had for many years. If I'm scoring next season, hopefully, maybe people will become happier with me."

Werner has gone on runs of 13 and 14 matches without scoring for club and country at various points this season.

During that most recent barren streak, which ended with a winning goal against West Ham last month, Werner says he started to lose faith in himself.

"I had these two or three games after the international break where I missed a lot of chances and that was in my head. After this my confidence was gone," he said.

"It was like a period where in my head I was going crazy because I missed those chances."

Werner's shot conversion rate of 7.59 in the Premier League this term was substantially lower than the likes of Edinson Cavani (29.41), Gareth Bale (28.95) and Alexandre Lacazette (28.89), who led the way among forwards.

Chelsea have been linked with a number of high-profile strikers to lead their line from next season, but Werner insists he has no intention of moving on during the transfer window.

"I don't think about leaving the club this year, for sure not, and also for the next year," he said.

Timo Werner acknowledged he could not have too many complaints despite again rueing his luck as he played a key role for Chelsea without scoring in their 2-1 win over Leicester City.

Just four days on from losing to the Foxes in the FA Cup final, Chelsea leapfrogged their opponents into third at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues retain control of their fate in the race to qualify for the Champions League, a competition in which they will play this season's final later this month.

Werner will no doubt have a big role to play in the showpiece against Manchester City, but his personal fortunes showed little sign of turning in this match.

Before Antonio Rudiger's opener, Werner had two goals disallowed – one for offside, the other for handball – and a big penalty appeal waved away.

The striker did eventually win a spot-kick, a league-high fifth of the season, that Jorginho dispatched, meaning Kelechi Iheanacho's response counted for little for Leicester.

But Werner still only has six goals in the Premier League.

Although the Germany international's finishing is a concern, with his chances worth 11.24 expected goals producing shots with a value of just 8.55 expected goals on target (xGOT), there has been an element of misfortune, as the player suggests.

The 2.55 difference between his xGOT total and goals tally indicates opposition goalkeepers performing above their expected level.

"I think the first half particularly was the picture of the whole season for me up to now," Werner, whose 27 offsides rank joint-fourth in the top flight, told Sky Sports.

"I was, every time, close but at the end not really close. I think for me maybe [it was] the unluckiest season I have ever had and will have maybe, because it can't be worse.

"For example, the offside, okay the 10th time, I don't know how close it was, then a clear penalty for us. Of course I was surprised [it wasn't given] because for me it was a clear penalty.

"And then the first one, I want to make a header and I get a little push and put my arm out and then the ball goes exactly against my arm.

"I didn't know [it would be ruled out] because I felt a touch on my hand but didn't realise how it was. You see it on the picture that I get a little hit from behind and then my arm goes forward and it touches.

"Unlucky the whole season. When you have a season like this and you are so unlucky and you still in the Champions League final and maybe reach the Champions League next year, all good."

Christian Pulisic admitted to being "very frustrated" at being left out of Chelsea's starting line-up for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid.

The United States international scored a crucial away goal for the Blues in last week's first leg but was named among the substitutes for the return fixture at Stamford Bridge.

He again made his impact known, however, by setting up a goal for Mason Mount 18 minutes after being introduced from the bench in the 2-0 win, which saw Chelsea through 3-1 on aggregate.

"I'm very frustrated," Pulisic, who has struggled with injuries this term, told CBS Sports. "There's not much else to say. I wanted to play from the beginning, as I always do.

"I've had to continue to prove myself over and over again. But, as always I reach out to God and he gives me strength. With that behind me, nothing can stop me really."

A look at the Opta stats shows Pulisic has a right to be frustrated, having now scored and assisted a combined four goals in the Champions League in nine appearances this term.

Only Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner have been directly involved in more (both six) - in eight and 11 games respectively.

For comparison, Mount - who has been superb for Chelsea this season - has three direct goal involvements in 10 Champions League games, while Kai Havertz has two from 11 respectively.

Focusing on the Premier League, meanwhile, Pulisic has four goals and one assist in 23 appearances this term, just 14 of those being starts.

Pulisic's average of a 0.26 goals per 90 minutes is slightly better than Havertz's return of 0.25 and behind only Giroud (0.5) and Tammy Abraham (0.52) among Chelsea's attackers. Werner, for context, averages 0.23.

The 22-year-old also performs better when it comes to chances created per 90 minutes in the English top flight when compared to Havertz - 1.37 to the German's 1.07.

But Pulisic still ranks some way below Hakim Ziyech, who has created 2.54 chances per 90 minutes this season and will also perhaps feel that he should be starting more often.

Mount (2.68) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (2.71) lead that particular metric, incidentally, which only highlights just how many options Thomas Tuchel has available in that zone.

One area Pulisic struggles in comparison to his attacking rivals is passing accuracy in the opposition half - 80.95, which is lower than Havertz's 84.3, Mount's 85.45 and Hudson-Odoi's 85.65. ​

The American's win rate when starting games also does not make for good reading.

The Blues have won 13 and lost just two of the 20 league games Pulisic has not featured from the beginning this term, compared to four wins and five losses in the 14 games he has been included in the XI.

Chelsea average 1.8 league goals with Pulisic in their starting line-up, as opposed to 1.3 without, while their average goals against rises from 0.6 to 1.4 when he starts.

Tuchel ultimately knows best when it comes to his team selection - and he is backed up by the possibility of a Champions League and FA Cup double - so Pulisic will simply have to keep proving himself if he is to hold down a regular starting spot.

This past year or so has done very little for our basic grasp of time.

Don't leave the house for a week, miss a couple of Zoom quizzes and what even are days?

Time and how easily or readily it passes depends on individual perception – our stresses, worries and hopes at that given moment.

Between Chelsea forward Kai Havertz hitting the Real Madrid crossbar in Wednesday's Champions league semi-final and the ball plopping down onto Timo Werner's head, a little under two seconds passed.

It's nothing really, but how they must have dragged for Werner. So many things to flash through his mind's eye. All soundtracked by a klaxon of "OH GOD, OH GOD, YOU CAN'T MISS… DON'T MISS! ARRRGGHHH!"

He might have thought of how coolly he linked with the effervescent N'Golo Kante in the build-up to Havertz's impudent dinked effort.

Kante negotiated Madrid's seasoned midfield with nimble precision and was one of Chelsea's many outstanding players on the night.

Casemiro and Toni Kroos will not want to think of the France international for some time after this, but the number seven on his blue shirt scampering around and away from them might be a hard image to shift.

Werner would create a glorious chance for Kante as only ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois prevented Madrid from collapsing in a heap after half-time. He has brought much more than unfortunate penalty box uncertainty to Chelsea, however much howling missed chances like his volley in the first leg linger in the collective consciousness.

The ex-RB Leipzig man has 12 goals and 10 assists this season, making him the first Chelsea player to record double figures for both since Eden Hazard in 2018-19.

"I'm sure I've seen him around here somewhere," Werner might have thought as he gazed up into the cool night sky.

Zinedine Zidane's selection of Hazard in his starting XI and decision to keep him on for 89 minutes had little logic beyond "it's a funny old game". The only thing coming back to haunt anyone right now is the Belgium playmaker's price tag and what Florentino Perez thinks is acceptable when faced with a chasm in the Madrid accounts.

Few players in full flight are as utterly joyous as Hazard, but that was the Chelsea Hazard. Fitness woes have turned his dream move into a nightmare. He failed to register a shot or create a chance for a team-mate during the first half on his old stomping ground.

There was a snapshot on the angle to test imperious Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the 64th minute before Hazard returned to the margins.

Big-name signings have no guarantees, as Werner might have mulled as he positioned his forehead for the ball and a virtually unmissable chance. Oh, to be a striker in form.

That can be a different kind of burden, though.

“For people who like to watch football, Karim is a gift,” Zidane recently said of his talismanic striker Karim Benzema. "We enjoy him and so do his teammates. Karim makes the difference."

As much as it must be nice to have his team-mates enjoy him, Benzema must sometimes wish they'd join in. His lightning control and volley conjured an equaliser out of nothing at Valdebebas last week.

He almost did likewise at Stamford Bridge, producing a brilliant first touch and venomous shot from the edge of the box that Mendy saved superbly.

When Benzema escaped the attentions of Antoinio Rudiger and Thiago Silva before half-time to send a looping header towards the net, the Chelsea goalkeeper was again his equal. The same could not be said for anyone with whom he shares a dressing room.

Mason Mount was on hand to make sure of a 2-0 win and an all-English final against Manchester City five minutes from time. A lavishly gifted youngster putting Madrid out of their misery felt somewhat symbolic - Mount possessed of the verve and energy that this shell of the great side that won three consecutive Champions Leagues have long since left behind. Time waits for no one.

Just like their limp exits against Ajax and City in the past two seasons, this was meek. The only dazzle that remains comes from their famous white kits.

Back in the 28th minute, there was the dazzling white of the floodlights, the crossbar and the ball all in Werner's immediate view. It was time, his time – the easiest goal he will ever score and very possibly the most important.

Two seconds from the moment Havertz hit the crossbar. Eight days on from Werner's torment in Madrid. A whole, torrid season. However you frame it, it was worth the wait.

Chelsea reached the Champions League final after a 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semi-final.

Thomas Tuchel's side will meet Manchester City in Istanbul after a fully deserved triumph at Stamford Bridge, secured through Timo Werner and Mason Mount.

The Germany international's first open-play goal in the competition since September 2019 put the Blues ahead before Mount converted from close range in the closing stages after the hosts had missed a plethora of second-half openings as they countered Madrid with ease.

Zinedine Zidane's men looked out of sorts in a makeshift 3-4-3, even with captain Sergio Ramos and former Chelsea star Eden Hazard back in the side, as their winless record against the Premier League club stretched to five matches.

Following a quiet start, Werner had the ball in the net after 18 minutes but the forward had strayed offside before meeting Ben Chilwell's low cross.

Madrid enjoyed 73 per cent of the possession in the first 25 minutes and Edouard Mendy made a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a shot from Karim Benzema on the turn.

Yet they went behind two minutes later. N'Golo Kante's superb turn of pace allowed him to set up Kai Havertz, and although his chip came off the crossbar, Werner was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Benzema was denied again by Mendy, this time from a close-range header, but Madrid struggled to create opportunities despite their dominance of the ball.

Havertz again struck the woodwork with a powerful header just after the restart, but this time Thibaut Courtois breathed a sigh of relief as the ball bounced over and behind.

Mount wasted a glorious chance, driving at Courtois but blasting his finish over, and Havertz was denied by the goalkeeper's leg when through following a simple ball over the top.

Kante also wasted a good opening before Mount at last killed the contest, steering into the net from Christian Pulisic's cut-back after Madrid lost possession in their own half.

What does it mean? Chelsea to battle City second all-English final in three seasons

Madrid had never beaten Chelsea in four previous European meetings coming into this match and had not won in four consecutive away games against English sides in the competition.

It seemed the omens had weighed on the visitors as they failed to create anything meaningful beyond the first-half openings for Benzema, with the players looking uncomfortable in Zidane's system.

Chelsea, by contrast, were diligent and energetic and fully deserved to reach a third Champions League final.

No messing from Mendy

Mendy made four saves as Chelsea faced four shots on target in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time since October 2017 against Roma.

His two from Benzema were exceptional and helped to put his side in a commanding position at the break – one they did not relinquish.

Zidane loses Midas touch

Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive trophies in this competition and oversaw an impressive defeat of Liverpool in the previous round.

However, his back-three set-up here, somewhat enforced by injury problems, was vulnerable to Chelsea's breaks throughout and seemed to stifle Hazard, Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

What's next?

Chelsea face something of a warm-up act for the final when they meet Pep Guardiola's City in the Premier League on Saturday. Madrid's LaLiga title battle resumes against fellow contenders Sevilla.

Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will not sit back on their away-goal advantage against Real Madrid as it is in the club's DNA to try to win every match.

Christian Pulisic scored a crucial goal for Chelsea in last week's Champions League semi-final first leg before Karim Benzema levelled up the tie at 1-1 through Madrid's only shot on target.

The onus is on Madrid to score an away goal of their own in Wednesday's return match at Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel does not intend to set his side out to protect their narrow lead.

"For me, the challenge is to forget the result in two-legged games and go on and start anew at 0-0," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"We will prepare to win the match, nothing else. I don't know any other way to prepare other than to encourage my team to go out and try to win it.

"If we are at our best then it's a no-brainer that we go for the win. We want to win games, this club is about winning.

"This game and competition is about winning. We are in the semi-final second leg.

"The first result is not as important as everybody thinks. There is zero importance for me in the preparation of this match. 

"It's not changed anything about how we've prepared, zero influence. We will encourage them, we will demand from them and we will be strong tomorrow as a group."

Tuchel was left frustrated by Chelsea's finishing in the first leg, with Timo Werner guilty of missing good opportunities either side of Pulisic and Benzema's goals.

Werner has scored from three of his 20 shots in this season's Champions League, giving the Germany international a shot conversion rate of 15.0 per cent.

For comparison, Madrid striker Benzema – who will overtake Raul as the competition's outright fourth top goalscorer if he nets on Wednesday – has scored from six of his 31 shots (19.4 per cent)

But while Tuchel accepts his attacking players have to be more clinical, he is happy to persist with his current set-up.

"I believe that Timo absolutely wants to score more, but we have to understand sometimes strikers miss chances. This is part of the game," he said. 

"We have another training session today and it is always about the last impression from the players.

"Everybody needs to step up to take responsibility for scoring. This will come maybe with more time and some self-confidence. 

"I am pretty relaxed about it and trust my players, no matter who starts tomorrow."

Madrid were without captain Sergio Ramos last week but the experienced defender has been included as part of their squad for Wednesday's game.

Los Blancos have won three and drawn one of the four Champions League games Ramos has started this season, compared to three wins, two draws and two losses in the seven games he has missed.

Tuchel is expecting Ramos to return to the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge, which could also possibly mean a change in formation for the visitors.

"Does Ramos play or not? This is a tough question because I don't know if he's fit or not. We'll see after training and when they give the line-up," the German coach said.

"Does it change for Real Madrid? Yes, it changes them a lot. He's the captain of the most successful team in Europe in recent years.

"It changes a lot but we cannot lose our heads about this decision. I think that he will start, we will prepare for that and we have to make sure he can't do it alone."

"I am not sure if they will play 5-3-2 again, maybe they will go 4-3-3. From this decision, things change. 

"I believe that it is not about formation, what Real Madrid play, it is about how we play. Are we brave enough? Are we courageous enough?"

Chelsea have progressed from five of their past seven knockout ties in the Champions League when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg. 

However, one of those two eliminations came in their last semi-final appearance in the competition, versus Atletico Madrid in 2013-14 when losing the second leg 3-1.

The Blues' only previous triumph in the competition was in 2011-12 and Tuchel, a beaten finalist with Paris Saint-Germain last season, knows the importance of lifting the trophy.

"I never felt like this competition is our holy grail since I arrived but I felt that this club is about winning," he said. 

"It does something to you, you feel it. We are very competitive, very serious about any game, this is what I like.

"I never felt we had a holy grail to reach the final or winning the Champions League is the only target. I have a strong feeling that every win counts, the club demands it."

Tuchel confirmed midfielder Mateo Kovacic will again miss out for Chelsea through injury, but Antonio Rudiger is fit to play with the aid of a protective mask.

Away-day specialists Manchester City saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 to close in on another Premier League title and equal a top-flight record in the process.

Chelsea beat Fulham by the same scoreline elsewhere in Saturday's Premier League action, thanks to a couple of goals from Kai Havertz.

A two-goal success was also the outcome when Brighton and Hove Albion welcomed Leeds United to the Amex Stadium, the Seagulls all but securing their top-flight status for another season.

In the late match, Aston Villa edged out Everton 2-1 to boost their chances of a top-half finish and derail their opponents' European prospects.

We use Opta data to take a look at the best facts from Saturday's games.

 

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: Patient Citizens win again on their travels

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres in the space of 83 seconds proved enough for City to pick up a victory that leaves them on the brink of another piece of silverware.

Those strikes came from the Citizens' first two shots on target and saw them reach the 700-goal mark under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

City's 57-minute wait for their first on-target attempt of the match was their longest in a Premier League game since November 2019 against Southampton.

Torres added to Aguero's opener moments later with a good finish from 20 yards - the 11th league goal Palace have conceded from outside the box this term, which is the joint-most of any Premier League team alongside Sheffield United.

The victory was City's 11th in a row away from home in the Premier League, equalling the all-time English top-flight record held by Chelsea (April-December 2008) and City themselves (May-December 2017).

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United: Whites lose again on south coast

Brighton moved within touching distance of securing a fifth successive season of Premier League football thanks to a well-earned victory at home to Leeds.

Pascal Gross found the bottom corner from a 14th-minute penalty and Danny Welbeck added to that with his fifth Premier League goal of the season in his 21st outing - the forward's best top-flight return since 2017-18.

It was an all-too-familiar tale for Leeds, who have now lost five successive away league meetings against Brighton without scoring - the first time that has happened in their history against a single opponent.

In fact, Brighton have won eight of their last nine league meetings with Leeds home and away, which is more than they managed in their previous 28 against them.

Leeds managed just two attempts on target as Graham Potter's Brighton claimed a seventh home clean sheet of the season, a tally bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea (nine each) in the Premier League this season.

 

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: Havertz inflicts more derby misery on Cottagers

Kai Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally with a brace in Chelsea's routine victory over Championship-bound Fulham.

All eight of the Germany international's goals for Chelsea in all competitions have now been scored in London, seven of those at Stamford Bridge and one at Selhurst Park.

His second goal in this game involved some nice link-up play with Timo Werner, who with that assist became the first Chelsea player to reach double figures for both goals (11) and assists (10) in his debut season for the club since Eden Hazard in 2012-13.

Werner's combined 21 goals and assists is the most of any Chelsea player this term, and he is one of five Premier League players to reach double figures for both metrics across all competitions alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford.

Fulham have now gone 19 away games without a win at neighbours Chelsea in all competitions - only versus Everton (31), Hull City (23) and Middlesbrough (21) are the Blues currently enjoying a longer unbeaten run against an opponent on home soil.

The Cottagers are also now winless in 24 Premier League London derbies since beating West Ham in January 2014 - only Palace have endured a longer such run in English top-flight history, going 31 London derbies without a win between August 1969 and March 1973.

Fulham missed some good chances as Chelsea kept an 11th Premier League clean sheet under Thomas Tuchel - the most shutouts for any manager in their first 15 games in the competition, one more than ex-Blues bosses Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Toffees' poor Goodison run continues against familiar opponents

Villa dented Everton's European hopes with victory at Goodison Park in what was the 205th top-flight meeting between the clubs - the most played fixture in England's top division.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Villans have won more games (20) and scored more goals (73) in the Premier League era against Everton than they have against any other side in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 20th goal in all competitions this season to open the scoring in Saturday's late kick-off - with that haul including a Premier League leading seven headers - to cancel out Ollie Watkins' opener.

But Anwar El Ghazi snatched all three points for the Villans 10 minutes from time with his eighth goal in 23 Premier League games this season, doubling his tally from 34 appearances in the competition last time out.

Everton have now won just one of their last 10 home league matches and have tasted defeat at Goodison Park eight times this season - only in 1993-94 have they lost on more occasions (nine) in a single Premier League campaign.

Thomas Tuchel has told misfiring Chelsea forward Timo Werner that it is no time to cry over his form in front of goal.

Werner has struggled to replicate the form that saw him score 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances for RB Leipzig last season since joining the Blues in a £47.5million deal.

The Germany international scored the only goal in a vital 1-0 win at West Ham on Saturday – his sixth in 31 Premier League outings.

However, his demons in front of goal returned during Tuesday's 1-1 Champions League semi-final draw at Real Madrid as he volleyed a glorious close-range opportunity too close to Thibaut Courtois.

Werner's four shots were more than any of his Chelsea team-mates, with two on target and one blocked before he was withdrawn in favour of compatriot Kai Havertz midway through the second-half.

"He missed a big one at West Ham, now he missed another big one here," Tuchel told a news conference after Karim Benzema's well-taken volley cancelled out Christian Pulisic's 14th-minute opener.

"That does not help, but it also does not help to cry about it or to regret it all the time.

"It's like this. There are millions of people who have harder things to deal with than chances that you miss.

"This is the good thing about sports. Nobody cares tomorrow. Today we were sad, we were angry in the moment.

"This is normal. He is angry, he is maybe disappointed. Tomorrow he has a free day and then the next day he has to put his chin up."

Werner has scored six non-penalty goals for Chelsea across the Premier League and Champions League, with his shots in those competitions adding up to an expected goals (xG) figure of 13.4 – underlining his woes.

However, the 25-year-old's selfless running and work rate has been valuable to Tuchel since he succeeded Frank Lampard in January.

Although he did not create any chances for his colleague in the Spanish capital, Werner has supplied eight assists amid his Premier League and Champions League efforts this term.

"He is a professional guy, he is a top guy. He works hard, he is in the positions and from there on we go," Tuchel added.

"We will never stop pushing, we will never stop believing. I have the feeling that everybody accepts the situation as it is.

"As a striker it is easy – you score the next game and nobody speaks."

West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena has had his three-match ban overturned after an independent commission accepted his sending off against Chelsea was "wrongful".

Thomas Tuchel's Blues clinched a potentially vital win in the race for a top-four finish against surprise Champions League hopefuls West Ham, with Timo Werner's goal enough to seal all three points at London Stadium.

West Ham's hopes of pushing for a late equaliser were dashed when Balbuena saw red in the 81st minute.

While clearing the ball down the line on West Ham's right flank, Balbuena – seemingly inadvertently – caught Ben Chilwell on his follow-through.

Referee Chris Kavanagh initially booked Balbuena but, after consultation with the VAR, went over to assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and subsequently changed his decision to a straight red card – a call that infuriated Hammers boss David Moyes.

However, the FA has revealed an independent panel has deemed Kavanagh's decision to be erroneous.

An FA statement read: "An independent regulatory commission has removed Fabian Balbuena's three-match suspension following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal.

"The West Ham defender was dismissed for serious foul play during a Premier League fixture against Chelsea on Saturday."

As such, Balbuena will be able to feature against Burnley on Monday, as West Ham resume their quest for a top-four finish.

The defeat to Chelsea left them three points adrift of Tuchel's men in fourth.

Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz need strong personalities to succeed at Stamford Bridge, according to Kevin Kuranyi.

Germany stars Werner and Havertz both joined Chelsea at the start of the season, from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, amid high expectations but it has been a challenging start to life for the pair in the Premier League.

After scoring 28 goals in the Bundesliga and 34 across all competitions last season, Werner has found the back of the net on 11 occasions and supplied nine assists for Chelsea this term, including six Premier League goals.

Havertz – who became Chelsea's most expensive outfield player ahead of the 2020-21 campaign – has shown glimpses of his quality with six goals and six assists, though he has largely struggled.

Former Germany striker Kuranyi backed the pair to rediscover their best form in London.

"Of course they were playing a really high level in Germany," 52-time Germany international Kuranyi, who played for Stuttgart and Schalke in the Bundesliga, told Stats Perform News.

"But if you play in a club like Chelsea… I was talking with some friends who play at Chelsea before and there it is very important to have a strong personality to play there.

"They are young players, like Havertz – he is in the first step of his career. He made a big, big step so he needs time to keep his quality at Chelsea.

"I think the first year is very important to learn a lot, to try to do the best, but in the second and third year will be much better."

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea – fourth in the Premier League – are preparing to face Real Madrid in the opening leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown on Tuesday.

West Ham manager David Moyes did not hold back in his criticism of referee Chris Kavanagh after the Hammers' 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Thomas Tuchel's team clinched a potentially vital win in the race for a top-four finish against surprise Champions League hopefuls West Ham, with Timo Werner's first top-flight goal since February enough to seal all three points at London Stadium.

It was a game not without controversy, however, as West Ham's hopes of pushing for a late equaliser were dashed when Balbuena saw red in the 81st minute.

While clearing the ball down the line on West Ham's right flank, Balbuena – seemingly inadvertently – caught Ben Chilwell on his follow-through.

Referee Kavanagh initially booked Balbuena but, after consultation with the VAR, went over to assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and subsequently changed his decision to a straight red card – a call which infuriated Moyes.

"I think it's a decision made by somebody who's never played the game," he told Sky Sports. 

"I don't know where Balbuena is meant to plant his foot. If they do make that decision then you look at the one a few minutes later which was the same – this time it was Vladimir Coufal and [Antonio] Rudiger – and it was a very similar challenge but they've never done anything about it.

"I don't know how it's a red card, I don't know where he's supposed to plant his foot, and you would only have to be someone who doesn't know the game, hasn't played it, to not know that he's kicked through the ball.

"I don't think for one minute there's a bit of malice in that, or he's tried to catch him. I thought it was a rubbish decision."

It was the second VAR controversy of the day in the Premier League, after Newcastle United's Callum Wilson had a goal disallowed for handball against Liverpool, albeit Joe Willock then struck minutes later to snatch a last-gasp point at Anfield.

Liverpool's draw means that fourth-placed Chelsea are four points clear of the Reds, who sit sixth, with West Ham in fifth.

Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in all 10 away matches with Chelsea (W8 D2) and is only the second manager in Premier League history to remain unbeaten in his first 10 away games in all competitions with a club, after Claudio Ranieri with Leicester City in 2015, in the year the Foxes won the title.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss was delighted with Chelsea's overall display, and that of goalscorer Werner, who squandered a great chance to make sure of the win in the second half, and Tuchel told his compatriot to keep up his form heading into the run-in.

"He needs to keep scoring and catch the moment. He is quite often involved in our goals, even in the last weeks, by winning fouls in the penalty area or with assists like against Man City. But nothing helps more than a decisive goal," Tuchel told reporters.

Tuchel is not wrong, with Werner having been directly involved in 20 goals for Chelsea this season (11 goals, nine assists) – the most of any player for the club in all competitions.

"I am very happy because I felt he was strong from the start," Tuchel continued.

"He was very good with distributing the ball, dropping from the number nine position and keeping the ball, he had good timing with his deep runs behind the line, and was involved in many chances and half-chances."

Timo Werner quipped "two goals might be too much" after he was Chelsea's match-winner, but also missed a glorious chance, in the London derby at West Ham.

Werner had not found the back of the net in 14 games for club and country, but the Germany striker ended his drought to secure a 1-0 win that strengthens Chelsea's grip on fourth spot in the Premier League.

The former RB Leipzig star ended a flowing first-half move he was involved in, yet someone failed to hit the target from a few yards out when the ball fell nicely for him after the break.

Werner was relieved to get back on the scoresheet at London Stadium, but knows he ought to have taken his goal tally for the season to 12.

Despite his struggles, Werner has been directly involved in 20 goals for Chelsea this season (11 goals, nine assists) – the most of any player for the club in all competitions.

He told Sky Sports: "The second chance I have to score, but I have to come back slowly. One goal is enough. Two goals might be too much for the beginning!

"I’m very happy that we won this game. It's a big win for us in the race for the top four. It's the best feeling after winning a game to score a goal.

"It was really important for me and for the whole team. It’s great to be back on the scoresheet.

"Callum [Hudson-Odoi] said to me I’ll score today, and 30 seconds later Tammy [Abraham] came to me and said I'd score today. They told me to point to them when I score."

Werner's goal was his first since February 15 and he is confident there will be more to come ahead of a Champions League semi-final first leg at Real Madrid on Tuesday.

"This season it's not only the confidence, maybe it’s also luck," he added. "Last year the ball always went in, this year it's different.

"I'm confident that the chances like my second one will also go in in the next weeks and months.

"The draw against Brighton [on Tuesday] was tough for us because we wanted to get the win before the West Ham game. Now we have this gap to West Ham. It was really important ahead of a big game on Tuesday, when we play against Real Madrid."

West Ham's misery was compounded when Fabian Balbuena was sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh following a VAR check after catching Ben Chilwell following through after clearing the ball.

Balbuena is the first West Ham player to be sent off against Chelsea in the Premier League since Paolo Di Canio in January 2002, while the Blues have now kept 10 league clean sheets under Thomas Tuchel, equalling the quickest a manager has recorded 10 clean sheets in the competition (Luiz Felipe Scolari also achieved this feat in 14 games back in 2008).

Chelsea are three points clear of the fifth-placed Hammers and four better off than Liverpool, who drew 1-1 with Newcastle United earlier on Saturday, with five games to play.

Timo Werner ended his goal drought as Chelsea strengthened their grip on fourth place in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory at fellow Champions League hopefuls West Ham.

Werner had gone 14 games without finding the back of the net for club and country before opening the scoring just before half-time at London Stadium on Saturday.

The Germany forward also missed a golden opportunity in an entertaining derby, which Thomas Tuchel's side deservedly won to go three points clear of the fifth-placed Hammers.

Fabian Balbuena was sent off 10 minutes from time for catching Ben Chilwell after playing the ball as West Ham's hopes of securing a surprise Champions League spot took another blow with five games remaining.

Chelsea made a bright start and Werner flashed a shot over the crossbar after Mason Mount picked him out in the penalty area.

Lukasz Fabianski saved Mount's shot after the lively midfielder turned sharply in the box, and Christian Pulisic fired a first-time strike straight at the West Ham goalkeeper following an excellent run from Werner down the right flank.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta breathed a huge sigh of relief when a VAR check ruled he had not handled Tomas Soucek's goal-bound drive in the area and Werner opened the scoring two minutes before the break.

The former RB Leipzig forward was involved in a brilliant sweeping move before racing into the area to finish Ben Chilwell's pinpoint cross with his right foot from seven yards out.

Werner should have doubled Chelsea's lead early in the second half, but he somehow failed to hit the target from a few yards out when following up after Fabianski saved a strike from Mount.

Jesse Lingard went close to equalising with a right-footed attempt that looped just past the far post before Fabianski dived to keep out a long-range drive from the excellent Mount.

The busy Fabianski got down well to deny Werner and the Hammers' hopes of salvaging something from the game took a big blow when Balbuena saw red following a VAR check, having followed through on Chilwell after launching the ball clear.

Meetings with Chelsea have provided Manchester City with a measuring stick over the past 12 months.

In June 2020, at Stamford Bridge, City's 2-1 defeat handed the Premier League title to Liverpool, ending Pep Guardiola's two-season stay at the summit.

When City then returned to the same stadium in January, facing Chelsea for the first time in 2020-21, they rediscovered their mojo.

It was the fourth match in a sequence of 21 straight wins in all competitions and arguably the pick of the bunch.

Slick City, missing a host of stars due to COVID-19, swept Chelsea aside in a 3-1 win as Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne all scored. They left London in fifth but firmly back on track.

It has since looked as though that might be a defining display in a historic quadruple achievement. City, like Chelsea, reached the Champions League semi-finals this week. They are already clear at the top of the league table and have an EFL Cup final Wembley date with Tottenham next weekend.

But in the FA Cup, the fourth competition, City were tasked with again taking on Chelsea, an entirely different prospect now Thomas Tuchel has replaced Frank Lampard and fortified the Blues.

And Saturday's semi-final saw City finally come unstuck as Chelsea claimed a superb 1-0 success.

 

Blues a different beast

The improvement in Chelsea from January's match to this game was evident even in a first half in which they managed only two legal shots.

All three of City's goals had come in the opening 45 minutes last time, tearing through Lampard's men at will. They were now limited to three first-half efforts of their own worth a combined 0.1 expected goals. Parity suited Tuchel, who could not allow De Bruyne to dictate once more.

At the other end, a portender for City's later downfall appeared in the 'offsides' column, for the Premier League leaders were warned long before Hakim Ziyech's 55th-minute breakthrough.

With just six minutes on the clock, Timo Werner advanced up the left and the flag stayed down. The forward played a low, square ball, which City could not cut out, and Ziyech scored. Then the flag went up. A let off.

When Werner exploited the same space 10 minutes after the interval, set clear by a gorgeous Mason Mount pass, goalkeeper Zack Steffen decided to act.

Seemingly unimpressed by the way with which a usually sturdy City defence had allowed Werner to centre and Ziyech to finish on the first occasion, Steffen advanced and fared no better than his team-mates. The United States international failed to narrow the angle and simply granted Ziyech an open goal when Werner made his pass again.

 

KDB blow for treble bid

Mount moved uneasily as he was replaced 15 minutes later, but the damage was done. City had already lost De Bruyne - who completed only 10 passes in the Chelsea half - to an ankle complaint at the start of the second half. That setback could have implications far beyond this encounter.

Steffen twice saved City, blocking from Ziyech and reaching a tame Werner prod, and De Bruyne's replacement Foden sought to muster up more magic.

Momentum swung but the scoreline did not. Ruben Dias headed over from close range and Raheem Sterling blasted beyond the crossbar.

Although the flag was raised again to deny Chelsea a second in stoppage time - Christian Pulisic, on for Mount, frustrated - the Blues battled, blocked and bellowed their way across the finish line.

Tuchel five times faced Guardiola in Germany and failed to end on the winning side. Boosted by spirit in defence and speed in the form of the much-maligned Werner, he finally found the formula.

The Chelsea coach will get another go at Guardiola in the league on May 8, a third meeting this season hot on the heels of the sides' respective Champions League semis. They will know by then if there is to be a further part to this epic in a European final - hopefully, for City's sake, with De Bruyne back involved in Istanbul.

Should Guardiola's men win that prize, the most precious of all, it could clinch a tremendous treble, but FA Cup glory is not on the agenda this season.

"We never speak about the four titles," the City manager said in midweek. "One game at a time."

The next game ensured nobody outside the club could speak about that clean sweep either - at least for another year.

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