Marcelo Desailly suggested Timo Werner can grow to become Chelsea’s new Eden Hazard as he believes the Blues were missing that “individual” quality in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Defensively, it was a very comfortable game for the Blues who managed to stop Atleti from having any shot on target for 90 minutes.
Thanks to Olivier Giroud’s outstanding overhead kick, Chelsea will head into the second leg with a win and an important away goal.
However, Chelsea were not as fluid in attack as they would have hoped against the stubborn Atleti defence.
According to Desailly, Chelsea lacked the individual brilliance that Hazard used to offer.
“[This Chelsea team] is missing an individual player who can be the leader of the offensive side [of their game] — but [overall] I’m pleased,” the former France international told beIN SPORTS.
Asked whether he meant the type of player like Hazard, Desailly responded: “You said it. To hold the ball, to set the tempo and accelerate the game when it’s time to.
“Timo is showing great ability, great skills and usage of the ball, but he needs to grow a little bit more to be that kind of player.”
That is a very interesting take because Werner is not someone who often associated with Hazard.
The two are not exactly the same type of players but Werner’s left inside forward role in Tuchel’s 3-4-3 does share some similarities with the Belgium international’s role under Antonio Conte.
Under the Italian, Hazard did not play the creative role that he played for the majority of his Chelsea days but rather a more direct deep-lying forward role.
The fact that Hazard had just five assists in the title-winning 2016/17 season but scored 16 goals says a lot.
Werner might not be at Hazard’s level in terms of technical abilities but he has the pace and the goalscoring instincts that could be as impactful.