Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said his decision not to deploy Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Southampton was due to their lack of form.
The pair still made the bench, but Tuchel opted against using any of them.
It was certainly an interesting decision, given Chelsea clearly needed more firepower up front after Southampton’s equaliser in the second half.
Instead, Tuchel pretty much changed his whole midfield with Mason Mount, Ross Barkley, and Jorginho, while keeping both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner as a strike pairing.
Tuchel argued that both Ziyech and Havertz, who started in the 1-0 defeat to Juventus, have not met expectations recently.
“We always try to do our best to bring the players to their best shape,” the Chelsea manager said in his post-match press conference (via Hayters TV).
“However, at some point, after a lot of chances, we have to admit Kai and Hakim are not in their very best shape
“It’s maybe not even their fault. They’re struggling to be decisive.
“Nobody is angry at them, and nobody has major concerns. But we have to pay attention to the actual form.
“Today was the day that we felt we needed a mix of players who are used to our style of play and that we can have quick decisions.”
Fierce competition for attacking spots at Chelsea
Tuchel’s substitutions had a big impact on the game, and his reluctance to use these two attackers was justified in the end.
Both Ziyech and Havertz, however, should really consider Tuchel’s statement as a warning.
Timo Werner and Mason Mount certainly grabbed the opportunity to impress the manager, as well as Callum Hudson-Odoi who also had a good game as a left winger.