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.

Erling Haaland might be too expensive a purchase for some of football's richest clubs. 

The Borussia Dortmund sensation is on everyone's wish list.

The question is who will be willing to meet his reported demands?

 

TOP STORY - LALIGA GIANTS PRICED OUT OF HAALAND MOVE?

Haaland's apparent desire for a €35million annual salary has the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid thinking twice about a potential move, Goal reported. 

The prolific 20-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, has held informal discussions with both LaLiga stalwarts but the sides did not get into specifics about finances. 

For now it appears Barca and Madrid are content to wait it out and see how Haaland's market unfolds. 

That is not the case for another potential suitor. According to Goal, an unnamed English club that made inquiries about the Leeds-born striker earlier this year has backed away from talks due to that salary figure. 

The mystery team is not Chelsea, who consider Haaland their top target according to an Evening Standard report. 

 

ROUND-UP

- While the Blues can hope to land the high-flying Norwegian, Timo Werner may be on the way out. Though the Evening Standard reports Chelsea have not yet seriously discussed selling him, it is not clear how he fits into the Blues' strike force at the moment.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract with AC Milan this summer and has had talks with Juventus, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Manchester United have coveted Nikola Milenkovic and may be ready to make a move for the Fiorentina defender, though The Sun says United would not be interested at the rumoured £38m fee. 

- United also want Edinson Cavani to have another season at Old Trafford, but at age 34 he might want to move closer to home. Boca Juniors would offer him a two-year deal, says Fabrizio Romano. 

- Watford are prepared to bring Ashley Young back to the club should they return to the Premier League next season, the Daily Mail says. Young's contract with Inter is expiring.

- After a loan spell with Paris Saint-GermainAlessandro Florenzi could be in line to play in Italy with Inter next season rather than returning to Roma, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported. 

- Luis Suarez appears likely to remain with Atletico Madrid, but there is a possibility he could rekindle last year's reported talks with David Beckham's Inter Miami. The American side's interest in the Uruguayan "has not stopped," according to Mundo Deportivo. 

- One player not headed anywhere is Karim Benzema, who Marca reports will sign to remain with Real Madrid through 2023.

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea retain "faith and trust" in struggling forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

Both players were substituted with 25 minutes left in the 2-0 Champions League win over Porto in Seville on Wednesday.

Tuchel said after the quarter-final first leg that the two players had not given him what he was looking for.

But ahead of the short trip to play Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, he insisted both players remain a key part of his plans and that his substitutions were specific only to that match.

Tuchel accepts Werner is lacking in confidence but does not have any concerns over Havertz.

Werner has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other Chelsea player (11, with five goals and six assists). 

However, the Germany striker has scored with just one of his last 42 shots in the competition, a strike against Newcastle United in February.

"Look at the games Porto played in the Champions League," said Tuchel in defence of Werner and Havertz.

"If you can show me any nice, fluid and pretty games of any opponent we can talk again. I did not find it. 

"They make your life very tough, especially for offensive players. They went through the group with 13 points. You can ask in the group how easy it was to play against them. 

"They did not have the easiest task up front. They had a big impact defensively and they worked hard for us, both Kai and Timo. 

"It was difficult for them to find spaces and create something, so we changed after 65 minutes but we will not lose faith and trust. 

"We accept sometimes it's hard sometimes to have a big impact. Maybe Timo misses a bit of confidence in his finishing but Kai, I feel, is very self-confident. 

"There are no bigger concerns. It was just in this game we tried to change the momentum."

Chelsea are yet to lose on the road under Tuchel in the Premier League (W3 D2).

The Palace clash comes after a dramatic week for the Blues, with the Porto win following up a shock 5-2 home reverse against West Brom.

Tuchel is keen to ensure his players do not get too up or down based on one result.

He added: "It's my job to learn every day and from every game, from every situation we have to face. 

"I don't have a big conclusion after the two games with the down and up we had in terms of results. 

"It's important to share experiences and make my experiences with the team. It's the first time we lost, a big loss, an unexpected loss in a weird game. 

"We have a lot of positives together so we needed to adapt and react to it. 

"I'm very happy we bounced back immediately. We were unlucky in some situations in the game. It's important for us now that we went through this. 

"Hopefully we can start a winning streak again."

Palace have kept five clean sheets in the Premier League at Selhurst Park since the turn of the year, two more than in the entirety of 2020.

But manager Roy Hodgson has lost six consecutive Premier League matches against Chelsea. 

The only opponent he has lost seven consecutive games against as a manager in the competition is Tottenham in a run that lasted between 2011 and 2019.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Kai Havertz and Timo Werner were replaced following underwhelming performances in Wednesday's Champions League success against Porto.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scored as Chelsea drew first blood against Portuguese outfit Porto in the quarter-final tie with a 2-0 victory in Seville midweek.

It was a necessary response for Tuchel, whose 10-man Chelsea were sensationally humbled 5-2 by lowly West Brom in the Premier League last time out.

But Chelsea did not have it all their own way against Porto, who were the better side for periods of the game and only just second best in terms of expected goals (xG) – 1.8 to 1.7 in the former's favour.

Havertz and Werner particularly struggled, the German duo replaced by Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic with 25 minutes remaining, and Tuchel explained his changes.

In his last 29 games in all competitions, Werner has missed 20 big chances, with an xG of 10.5 and 3.5 shot conversion rate.

"I accepted that it was a tough match for Timo and for Kai today," Tuchel told reporters after Chelsea won consecutive away knockout fixtures in the Champions League for the first time since 2004. "They did not have their best day but we did not deliver so well [for them].

"The connection between the deep seven players that we needed for the build-up and the front three, we lost a bit the connection to them.

"The balls we delivered were not the best balls and I could feel our two German players up front, Kai and Timo, did not play on their highest level today so I wanted to have an impact from the bench."

No side has conceded fewer goals (two) or kept more clean sheets (seven) in this season's Champions League than Chelsea (level with Manchester City on both counts).

Since Tuchel's first game in charge of Chelsea (January 27), no goalkeeper playing for a top-five European side has kept more clean sheets in all competitions than Edouard Mendy (10).

Tuchel added: "Christian has a good momentum, Oli has waited long and has good experience and memories of this stadium. We wanted to give the sign that we keep on going [in the game].

"This is the mentality in general that I like about this club and this team and that we want to implement. Once you lead, it is very hard to not play with the mentality of having something to lose. You want to keep what you have.

"But you need to go to try to win the next half and go and try to win the next duels and try to score the next goal. The best way to defend is to attack. The best way to impress the opponents is to have ball possession to be couraged and to always be a threat.

"I am happy about the impact of our substitutions. It is absolutely necessary that we have this bond between the players and we have this impact from the bench physically, but also with quality. That's why we are super happy with a big win today. The job is half done and we are aware of that and we need another top performance on Tuesday."

Timo Werner only joined Chelsea at the start of the season, but could he leave Stamford Bridge?

Premier League giants Chelsea are among the clubs interested in Erling Haaland.

But reports claim Chelsea are not prepared to sanction a Werner exit.

 

TOP STORY – NO CHELSEA EXIT FOR WERNER

Chelsea are not planning on selling Timo Werner as they eye Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to Telegraph.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea have been heavily linked with Haaland, who is also being targeted by Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Chelsea are against the idea of parting with Werner or using the German forward in a deal to prise Haaland to Stamford Bridge after one season in London.

 

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Barca are eyeing a move for Sergio Aguero after City announced their all-time leading goalscorer will leave the club on a free transfer at season's end, claims Fabrizio Romano. Inter, Chelsea and PSG have also been linked.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Kalidou Koulibaly is likely to leave Napoli at the end of the season. Koulibaly has been linked with United, PSG and Bayern Munich previously.

- While a Koulibaly departure is on the cards, could legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon arrive? Gazzetta dello Sport claims Napoli are interested in the Juventus great, who is searching for regular football.

Cristiano Ronaldo will decide his future before May, according to Tuttosport. The Juventus superstar has been linked with former clubs Madrid and United, as well as PSG.

- Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, Torino captain Andrea Belotti, PSV's Donyell Malen, AZ's Myron Boadu and Celtic star Odsonne Edouard are on Milan's shortlist of strikers in the transfer window, reports Calciomercato.

- The Athletic and other outlets claim Liverpool are nearing a deal to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche played down the possible transfer in an interview with Stats Perform News.

Not for the first time during his run as a Sky Sports pundit, Roy Keane looked like he might combust. 

Manchester City had raced into a 3-0 lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, piling more pressure on under-fire boss Frank Lampard, but Keane had an expensively assembled attack in his crosshairs. 

"The attacking players need to show up," he said of a line-up boasting big money close-season arrivals Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Kai Havertz could only make the bench. 

"We spoke before the game, we said they have a lot of quality, but to me they don't look like they're up to it. What do Chelsea need? 

"They need a miracle to get back into this game. They've been shocking, particularly the attacking players." 

Alongside him, former Liverpool great Graeme Souness had an issue with Ziyech's tracking back – or lack thereof – on Kevin De Bruyne's goal. 

"Just watch Ziyech, he takes the free-kick, he wanders in and watch him. Big players don’t act like that," he said. "Sprint back as fast as you possibly can, you don't stand and watch the game like this. 

"I'm sure when Frank sees that, he'll point out to Ziyech that you cannot do that in our football."

When Lampard was sacked a little over three weeks later, his uncle Harry Redknapp was similarly and more bluntly parochial about the biggest story in "our football".

"When you look at the players, people say he's spent all this money, did he bring the players in? Did he bring the Germans in?" he rhetorically asked on talkSPORT.

"The two German players have been massive disappointments, massive. I'm not even sure Timo Werner is cut out for Premier League football, the physical side is too much for him."

Perhaps it is a function of the frequent changes in Chelsea's dugout that narratives around goodies and baddies are so hastily constructed. Remember Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard as the "three rats" after Jose Mourinho's 2015 demise?

In that context, the role Ziyech and the two Germans played in Thomas Tuchel's Blues comprehensively downing Atletico Madrid gave a stark demonstration how much Werner and Havertz's compatriot has entirely changed the mood and trajectory of this talented team.

KAI HOPES

It said much of Havertz's woes since joining from Bayer Leverkusen for an initial £72million that Redknapp didn't actually use his name when he was the focus of his opprobrium. 

One Premier League goal set against 12 in his final Bundesliga campaign suggests there is still plenty of ground to make up, but in a couple of blurring seconds, Havertz showed exactly what made him one of the most sought-after talents in Europe. 

He was alert to move in front of Kieran Trippier and bring the ball under his spell. In that instant, Atleti were on the receiving end of the sort of lethal counter-attack that has become their Champions League calling card. 

Then it was time to marvel at the pace, power and poise as he approached halfway before shovelling possession into Werner's path. 

Under Tuchel, Havertz's shots per 90 minutes are up 2.3 from 1.4. The goals will surely come, but for now he had played his supporting role to perfection.

TURNING ON THE AFTER-WERNERS

However much Havertz will be keen to hit the back of the net, his desire must pale next to Werner's.

The former RB Leipzig star was simmering with intent from early on against Atleti, bustling in behind their defence early on.

That famous pace was put to its best use when he galloped onto Havertz's 34th-minute pass. Head up and on high alert, Werner assessed the scene, took a touch with the outside of his right foot and then lined up a low cross with his left.

The 25-year-old had fired wide a little earlier after Ziyech missed a kick, but he backed his team-mate to get it right this time.

Werner drew a brilliant save from Jan Oblak early in the second half and lashed into the side netting after his speed had again tormented Atleti.

Part of a collective also going at full tilt, he only has one goal under Tuchel so far, but 10 overall and seven assists this term are more goal involvements than any other Chelsea player in 2020-21.

There lies one of the joys of this 13-match unbeaten run for Tuchel. He has had a watertight defence in place from the get-go. Now, an all-star attack is just starting to shine.

HAKIM LIVING THE DREAM AGAIN

When he delighted on Ajax's phenomenal run to the semi-finals in 2018-19, Ziyech showed he loved this stage. 

He particularly loves to grace it with his sumptuous left foot, but Werner's cross was so immediate and so precise, he had to stick his weaker right on the end of it. 

Oblak could not keep the shot out and four of Ziyech's Champions League goals have arrived against Spanish opposition. Roll on Real Madrid in the quarters? 

The 27-year-old was evidently enjoying himself when he jinked into space on halfway and released Werner early in the second period – his three key passes in the match level best for Chelsea alongside Reece James, whose deliveries from right-back were majestic.

That was actually a touch under recent par for Ziyech, who is creating an average of 3.6 chances per game in the Tuchel era – taking his 2.4 under Lampard up a notch. 

By the time substitute Emerson Palmieri thundered home in stoppage time to seal a 3-0 aggregate triumph, there could be no question Chelsea's attacking stars had shown up. 

Maybe they could go all the way – a Champions League miracle form the rubble of the Lampard era. 

Timo Werner can transform his season by firing Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea into the final stages of the Champions League.

That is how Antonio Rudiger sees the opportunity for his fellow German, who has struggled to carry over his Bundesliga goalscoring form into English football.

On Wednesday, Werner looks set to face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of Chelsea's last-16 European tie, with the Blues holding a 1-0 advantage from the first game.

The former RB Leipzig striker, a big-money acquisition last June, has just 10 goals in 38 games of a season when he has repeatedly misfired.

Among players from Europe's top five leagues with 10 goals or more in all competitions, Werner ranks 93rd out of 96 in terms of the most proficient in converting 'big chances', with a 27.59 per cent success rate. He has scored just eight of 29 such chances, defined by Opta as 'where a player should reasonably be expected to score'.

"Of course we have conversations, but it's more conversations to keep him going, to help him," Rudiger said in Tuesday's pre-game news conference.

"It's his first year away from Germany and things are not going maybe the way he wants it, obviously, because he's a scorer. He wants to bag goals and things aren't going in his way at the moment.

"For me it's important to let him know someone's there for him to support him and I'm very, very sure going into this game tomorrow, sometimes small moments like this in a game like that can turn over everything for a striker and give him a real boost.

"Sometimes in life, if things aren't going your way, you have to fight through it, which he is doing in my opinion. He's working a lot and running a lot and I'm very sure things will come his way.

"He needs to be calm and work in silence and, whenever you have the chance on the pitch, to have that hunger to score goals and turn around the situation, but not to make himself crazy, he just has to be calm."

Defender Rudiger is relishing another chance to take on Luis Suarez, whose conversion of 'big chances' has been exceptional this season for Atletico.

The former Barcelona and Liverpool frontman has a 63.64 per cent hit rate (scoring 14 of 22 big chances) from such goal opportunities.

That ranks him second among players from the elite leagues with more than 15 goals of any type this season, beaten only by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (16 of 23 big chances for a 69.57 per cent rate).

The first-leg encounter between Rudiger and Suarez was spicy and a reunion could be pivotal to how the tie plays out.

"He is a world-class player, he's showed it at every club he's been at in Europe," Rudiger said.

"He's a very, very good player and has a lot of fight in him and he's a tough opponent but he just defends his badge by trying to fight for his team and I do the same."

Suarez pinched Rudiger on the thigh in a bizarre first-leg incident, which the Chelsea defender put down to "emotions", and said he "didn't really feel it that much".

"Everyone plays a little differently, so it's OK," Rudiger said.

Rudiger also opened up about how close he came to leaving Chelsea last September, when it appeared Tuchel's predecessor Frank Lampard was planning without him.

Paris Saint-Germain - then coached by Tuchel - and Tottenham were heavily linked with him at the time, and Rudiger confirmed both were keen.

"There were two teams - mainly one team - that I was considering. That was PSG, and there was also [Tottenham boss Jose] Mourinho, but this is something that didn't happen," he said.

Rudiger said he was "a bit upset" when neither move came off, but thankful at the same time he was not being pushed out of Chelsea.

"Now things are going well for me, I'm very happy about it, but I always felt well in the club," he said. "No one told me you should leave, the board or Frank Lampard. The loans that I wanted didn't happen but nobody told me at the club I should leave."

Thomas Tuchel will do everything in his power to get the most out of Timo Werner and Chelsea's other attackers after his side fired another blank in their stalemate with Leeds United.

Chelsea managed eight shots on target in Saturday's clash at Elland Road but could not find a way through as they failed to score for the second time in four games.

In fact, the west London side have had more goalless draws in 10 Premier League games under Tuchel (three) than they did in 57 under Frank Lampard (two).

The Blues are unbeaten in 12 matches across all competitions since Tuchel succeeded Lampard in January, scoring 13 goals.

Four of those have been penalties – three from Jorginho and one via Mason Mount – and one was a Ben Godfrey own goal.

Mount has scored two non-penalty goals, while wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have also been on target under Tuchel.

It means just four goals have been scored by Chelsea's forwards in Tuchel's first 12 matches – two for Olivier Giroud and one each for Tammy Abraham and Werner.

Despite Werner's struggles, and the likes of Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz failing to get off the mark, Tuchel is happy with his attacking options.

"I don't only look at the output, how much they score and assist," he told a news conference. "These are statistics to which every striker is attached, of course. 

"Everyone needs to have the mentality to cope with the pressure that comes along with statistics. It's like this in high-level football.

"But I have to say at the moment everyone is working hard, nobody is lazy, nobody is taking time out when we defend high as a block. 

"We are still looking a little bit for a breakthrough from one or two guys, to go on a scoring run. We will not stop pushing and trying to find solutions to create more clear chances for them. 

"That's the way it is. There is no need now to look to the summer or look for other solutions. We have solutions and have guys we are happy with and we will try to help them."

Werner has five Premier League goals to his name since arriving from RB Leipzig in a big-money deal last June, coming from a total of 61 shots.

The Germany international's 8.2-per-cent shot-conversion is one of the lowest among forwards in the Premier League.

But Tuchel, who was heard yelling out instructions to Werner during the 2-0 win over Everton, accepts it is down to the player to regain his confidence.

"I truly believe the best strikers were always strikers," he said. "It is not about the coaches they have. It is always in their blood. They have a certain profile, a certain approach to the game. 

"Timo is clearly one of these guys who scores a huge amount of goals. It is very natural to him to score and to define himself as the guy who has the last touch. 

"It is a very unique position, a sensitive position, so I truly believe it is not so important who is training them. Of course we are here to help everybody and for us it is important to help them keep their focus on the process. 

"It is the process that matters and that can help you escape the pressure you put on yourselves. Is my decision making good? Is my technique good? Is my vision clear enough? 

"If you focus on these points, hit the ball well, the result will take care of itself and you will find the back of the net soon if you just hit the ball and close your eyes.

"Of course we have exercises to help them with finishing in training, but in the end it's clear you can say whatever you want, watch videos and train, but the most important thing is the last percentage. There is no substitute for that."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel explained why he yelled at Timo Werner in the Premier League win over Everton, insisting the misfiring forward did not take it personally.

Werner was in the firing line of fellow German Tuchel during Chelsea's 2-0 victory against Everton on Tuesday.

Tuchel was caught on the broadcast shouting: "Timo, Timo, for how long are you still going to play on the left? You must play on the right! You have been playing on the left for a quarter of an hour now. Don't you understand it?"

Werner has scored five goals in 27 Premier League appearances this season since his big-money move from RB Leipzig, though he has only scored once in his last 13 appearances across all competitions.

As pressure mounts on the 25-year-old Germany forward, Tuchel lifted the lid on his exchange with Werner as in-form Chelsea prepare to face Leeds United on Saturday.

"It was very direct, and at the moment without spectators, things like this can get out there," Tuchel told reporters after the footage and audio went viral. "I was aware [of the video] because people around me showed me.

"We reminded Timo to re-join his position on the right because he was on the left too long. Switching positions is not a problem but we wanted Callum [Hudson-Odoi] on the left and Timo on the right side to make things easier for him. We reminded him but it was not an insult or aggressive. It was direct.

"I know what you mean but in the end, if it is respectful and not insulting each other [it is fine]. I have no problem with the players being direct to me and sometimes on the sideline, the coaches are in a game mode where things are direct and meant to be clear.

"Sometimes things are not pronounced in the most friendly or nice way. I agree but me and the players are in a game mode. I have the feeling that no one takes it too personally. It is about passing information. This is it."

Tuchel is unbeaten in his nine Premier League games since replacing Frank Lampard – only Maurizio Sarri (12) and Frank Clark (11) have had longer runs without defeat from the start of their Premier League careers.

Chelsea have won five of their six away games in all competitions under former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Tuchel so far (D1), having lost four of their last five under Lampard (W1).

Tuchel's Chelsea occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot, two points clear of London rivals West Ham and 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City.

Timo Werner's unproductive spell at Chelsea may be over after one season.

The Germany international only signed from RB Leipzig ahead of this season.

He has largely underwhelmed with five goals from 27 Premier League appearances.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD LEAVE CHELSEA

Football Insider reports Werner is prepared to quit Chelsea less than 12 months into a bumper five-year contract.

Werner netted 28 Bundesliga goals for RB Leipzig in 2019-20 but that return has drastically fallen since moving to London.

It is said there is a growing expectation that Werner will leave in the next year or two, despite the arrival of countryman Thomas Tuchel, which has led to a slight upturn in form.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has been offered a contract by Barcelona, according to TyC Sports. City have publicly declared they will not make a call on off-contract Aguero's future until the close season.

- AS reports that Real Madrid are willing to listen to offers for French centre-back Raphael Varane this close season. It is claimed he is interested in playing in the Premier League.

- Milan are keen to sign 22-year-old PSV forward Donyell Malen, according to Calciomercato. This is despite the probable renewal of veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

- Bild reports that Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner is ready to quit his post amid a breakdown in his relationship with sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, with Borussia Monchengladbach a potential new home with Marco Rose to depart for Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea forward Timo Werner is confident he can rediscover his best form in front of goal after learning on the job during a tough first season in English football.

The 24-year-old has endured an underwhelming campaign since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig in a deal worth a reported £53million last June.

Werner ended the longest goal drought of his career with a strike in the win over Newcastle United last month, but he has failed to score in Chelsea's subsequent three games.

He has netted 10 times in 35 appearances overall this term, half of those goals coming in the Premier League, compared to 34 goals in 45 outings in his final season for Leipzig.

Germany international Werner recently admitted to struggling with the demands of Premier League football but is hopeful he can now make a bigger contribution, with Chelsea facing Liverpool on Thursday.

"I never had a run like it in my career before," he told BBC Sport. "It was tough for me because I want to help the team. I want to score, it's in my nature, I am a striker. 

"You can always learn more from the bad situations. I learned to trust in myself, to give everything on the pitch, not only think about goals and fight for the team.

"Now I hope this period is gone and I score a few more goals until the end of the season."

Werner's 10 goal involvements in the Premier League this term from 25 appearances - five goals and five assists - is the most of any Chelsea player.

Tammy Abraham and midfielder Mason Mount are next on the list with a combined seven goals and assists each, while Jorginho and Ben Chilwell have six apiece.

Club legend Didier Drogba scored just 10 league goals in his first season at Stamford Bridge, meanwhile, which Werner puts down to players needing time to settle in a new competition.

"A lot of good strikers come to the Premier League and take one year to settle down and adapt," he said.

"I think my form is going up and getting better and better. Maybe this year is not the year of goalscoring for Timo but at the end I will reflect on the season.

"I have learned a lot. I know exactly the teams we play against, how they play."

Werner's adaption period has come at a time which has seen Chelsea change their head coach, with Thomas Tuchel replacing Frank Lampard in January.

Werner thinks the arrival of his compatriot in the dugout could help with his development over time.

"I can talk to him very easily," he said. "When he screams on the pitch, no problem for me. I need types of managers who scream at me. It gives me more power."

Thomas Tuchel plans to push Tammy Abraham "to his limits" and remains convinced he can get the best out of the striker at Chelsea.

Abraham is the Blues' top scorer in all competitions this season but was an unused substitute as Chelsea defeated Atletico Madrid 1-0 in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie last week.

The England striker did not even make the bench for Sunday's drab goalless draw against Manchester United with Olivier Giroud – the match-winner versus Atleti – chosen to lead the line and Timo Werner coming off the bench. 

Abraham had previously made five appearances, four from the start, and scored once since Tuchel was chosen as Frank Lampard's successor towards the end of January.

Tuchel insists Abraham's omission is not a punishment and merely a reflection of the strength in depth currently at his disposal.

"I think [I can get the best out of him], and this is my job to push him to his limits," Tuchel said at a news conference previewing Thursday's trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.

"We will not stop doing this in supporting him. This was a tough decision, but when things are like now, with hopefully nobody injured, we have these decisions to make.

"It's a part of my job which I do not like, but at the same time I like because it means we have everybody available. And then you have to make these decisions, which we communicate normally clearly.

"We have to cut it down to 18 players, so in the end it's not always a punishment or a signal to a player who is not in the squad.

"And in this case it was exactly like this. It was not a punishment or a signal, it was just a choice from the alternatives, on which position, who starts, who could come from the bench."

HOW DOES ABRAHAM RANK AGAINST OTHER OPTIONS?

Since breaking into the first team at Stamford Bridge at the start of last season, Abraham has been a bit of an anomaly in the sense he seems to regularly score goals, yet has never quite had the complete trust in his ability to perform consistently at an elite level.

But is that fair? 

Well, the evidence this season suggests Abraham has shown he is good enough to lead the line, albeit - perhaps unsurprisingly - there are areas of his game that need to improve. 

Abraham's 12 goals across all competitions is the highest among Chelsea players this season, with Giroud on 11 and Werner on 10.  

A shot-conversion rate of 25.53 per cent ranks third for the team. Only Giroud (27.5) and Jorginho (50) are above him, while Werner (13.3) – whose own issues in front of goal have been well documented during his debut campaign in England – is down in ninth. 

Abraham's 47 shots and 21 on target are the third and second best in the respective categories, with Werner (75 and 34) top in both. Giroud (40 and 20) is fourth and third. 

In terms of shooting accuracy, Abraham (51.22 per cent) languishes down the list for the Chelsea squad, well below the accuracy displayed by both Giroud (60.61) and Werner (58.62). 

However, he is top for Opta-defined big-chances scored on 10 (Werner and Giroud are on eight and six apiece), while his big-chance conversion rate of 62.5 per cent is substantially better than Giroud (42.86) and Werner (30.77) 

And his average of a goal every 126.58 minutes is comfortably ahead of Werner at 255.9, although Giroud's stands at an impressive 96.91. 

So, just what is Abraham missing right now? 

"He lacks a little bit of luck, Tammy, not only in games but also in training," Tuchel explained. 

"And once the last touch comes back, and he's fighting for it now, he will stay a player that we will push for."

Marcus Rashford was tasked with leading Manchester United's attack at Stamford Bridge, while Timo Werner dropped to the Chelsea bench.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declared on Friday that he was unsure if Cavani, who has had a positive impact this season since arriving on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, would overcome a knock which has kept him out since mid-February.

Paul Pogba was a confirmed absentee, however, and neither player featured as Solskjaer made five changes to his United team.

Rashford, who has been involved in seven goals in all competitions against Chelsea (five goals, two assists) – more than against any other side in his career – was instead given the central role that Anthony Martial had started in against Real Sociedad on Thursday.

That was one of five changes made by Solskjaer, who also brought back Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and David de Gea.

United are unbeaten in 19 Premier League away games (W13 D6), a run that began with a 2-0 win at Chelsea in February 2020. 

This is the Red Devils' longest unbeaten away run in their top-flight history, though their previous longest of 17 between December 1998-September 1999 ended with a 5-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea team have been in strong form.

After a frustrating draw with Southampton last week, Chelsea beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League thanks to Olivier Giroud's stunning winner.

Giroud is rewarded with a start up top, with Tuchel making three alterations.

One of the players to drop out is Werner, who ended his long goalscoring drought in Chelsea's last home game – a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.

Hakim Ziyech is in to partner Mason Mount – who has scored two goals in his last three Premier League games, as many as in his previous 21 in the competition – behind Giroud, with N'Golo Kante replacing Jorginho in midfield and Ben Chilwell coming in at left wing-back.

Opposite Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi retains his place, despite the youngster being subbed on and subbed off in the draw with Southampton.

The away team has won all four of the previous managerial matches between Tuchel and Solskjaer, with all of those games taking place between United and PSG in the Champions League.

Timo Werner has been impressed by the intensity of the Premier League and admits he has felt more "at home" since Thomas Tuchel took charge at Chelsea.

The German forward has endured a mixed start to life in England, suffering a long goal drought before finding the net in last week's 2-0 win over Newcastle United.

It was his first strike in the league since the November 7 win over Sheffield United, having gone 1,000 minutes without scoring despite 31 attempts.

Werner came in for some criticism but tried not to let that bother him as he adapts to the style of play in a new and challenging environment.

"Of course, I noticed that in such a lull you are no longer necessarily called a super striker," he told Kicker. "I just had to let go of all the pressure of having to score goals.

"It's the way in England that you never have a quiet game. You go fourth to last, are 1-0 behind after 15 minutes and they park the bus in front of their goal.

"The players are 1.90 meters tall, brutal physically and really fast – including the defenders. It's impressive what intensity is going on in the Premier League."

Werner has already seen a change of head coach, with club legend Frank Lampard replaced by Tuchel last month.

The arrival of a fellow German at the helm is something that has helped Werner feel more at ease at Stamford Bridge.

"Even though I work a lot on my English, I couldn't always express myself the way I wanted and had to be careful not to be misunderstood," he said.

"Now, of course, that's no longer a problem, you can almost feel a bit at home."

Chelsea sit fifth in the Premier League ahead of Tuesday's trip to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League for the first leg of their last-16 tie.

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