Cesar Azpilicueta said that ‘important’ Chelsea teammate Timo Werner can make the difference in Saturday’s Champions League final against Manchester City.
Werner has had four goals and two assists from 11 Champions League appearances (nine starts) this season — which is not exactly that bad.
Looking at it from a wide perspective, however, you could see why the 25-year-old has received a lot of criticism.
In 2021, the Germany international has only found the net four times in all competitions.
Four goals in almost six months is not exactly a record that anyone would have expected from the former RB Leipzig’s goalscoring machine.
Despite the statistics, Azpilicueta has jumped to Werner’s defence and insisted that the striker offers more than just goalscoring threats.
“We are human beings, when things are not going well we can suffer,” Azpilicueta said during Friday’s press conference about Werner’s poor goalscoring form.
“Sometimes, strikers are seen as the number of goals they score.
“But Timo’s overall contribution to the team; the runs he made, the penalties he won, and the assists he got, has been massive.
“Of course, as a striker, he would like to score more goals — and it’s important that he has this desire, this ambition.
“It has been his first year at Chelsea and tomorrow [in the Champions League final], he is [going to be] an important player for us.
“He can threaten [Manchester City’s defensive] line and make the difference up front.”
Werner might have a hard time converting the chances had, but he has certainly not had any problem in getting into dangerous positions.
The fact that Werner can outpace defenders to the ball at any point in the game often forces these defenders to position themselves deeper, and therefore creates spaces for other Chelsea players in central areas.
Bear in mind, Werner made two assists in Chelsea’s two wins over Manchester City in the FA Cup and the league under Tuchel.
Unsurprisingly, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola recently said that Werner is one of the reasons why Chelsea are such a difficult side to play against.