'Sharp in training': Tuchel says £45m Chelsea star is looking really good behind the scenes

Thomas Tuchel insisted that Timo Werner had warranted a recall to face Manchester United yesterday due to his efforts in training.

As quoted by the club website after the 1-1 Premier League draw on Sunday, Tuchel explained the choice to use the German international from the get-go.

Werner started a domestic game for the first time in over a month last night, following the injury he sustained against Malmo.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

He came off the bench and scored in the match prior to the weekend’s fixture with United, the 4-0 Champions League humbling of Juventus.

Perhaps the attacker’s services are best served as a substitute, however.

Timo loses his turbo

The 25-year-old failed to penetrate the Red Devils defence, mainly due to the low block the visitors committed to for virtually the whole evening.

There was little space for the £45m (Sky Sports) signing from RB Leipzig to exploit.

Running beyond back-lines is arguably Werner’s key strength.

Without it, he often looks like a passenger as proceedings pass him by.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The fact Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz – both players well accustomed to playing through the middle – were left on the bench raised further questions over the German’s inclusion.

Yet, Tuchel defended the decision to use his fellow countryman from minute one, as he’s looked so sharp in training.

“I think that we still see that Timo hasn’t played for a long time,” said the Blues boss.  

“So can we expect that he is on his absolute peak? No, we cannot. So it’s always a bit of what can we expect in this moment.

“He looked very sharp in training, scored many goals in the last two training sessions.

“That’s why I went with my gut and put him on the pitch and hoped that he could maybe hurt the two central defenders.

Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

“It was a decision for Timo because he looked really sharp and had the goal against Juventus so we thought maybe he could be decisive or the big threat in the middle.

“It wasn’t easy for him today and you could see that he clearly lacks some games and from here we go.”

Werner’s woes

Understandably, a period on the sidelines will always affect a player’s performance.

Just look at Mason Mount; the Englishman hasn’t looked quite right since his dental surgery.

Sadly for Werner, a shortage of minutes seems to damage him more than most.

Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Three goals and one assist is all the forward has to show from the season so far.

Numbers that will need improving quickly if he is to avoid further criticism.

That should come when the appearances stack up.

Tuchel has Werner’s corner, even if others are against him.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.