Glenn Hoddle has explained he was somewhat underwhelmed with the performance of Chelsea player Saul Niguez last night.

Saul, 27, was recalled to the Blues starting line-up on Wednesday to play in a new position against Zenit St Petersburg.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel opted to deploy central midfielder Saul as the team’s left wing-back in midweek, something he’s done in the past for parent club Atletico Madrid. With full-back Ben Chilwell currently injured, Marcos Alonso was given a small rest with a spot on the bench before coming on late in the match against Zenit.

The European contest finished 3-3 in Russia, so it means Chelsea finish as runners-up in their Champions League group.

Hoddle spoke about Saul’s performance after he was substituted off with 15 minutes left to go, highlighting the fact he wasn’t too impressed with his crossing.

When asked on BT Sport 3 (7:18pm, 8 December) if Saul passed the test of playing wing-back against Zenit, Hoddle said: “Not quite, but he did okay… His crossing wasn’t at its very best, but it’s minutes under his belt.”

Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Still no lift off in Saul’s career at Chelsea

Unfortunately, Saul was still unable to deliver the kind of performance that Chelsea fans are desperately waiting to see from him.

His season-long loan from Atletico has been a major disappointment so far, which is why it’s difficult to imagine him having a long-term future at Stamford Bridge.

He’s often looks out of his dept in the centre of the park during previous Blues appearances, so it was good to see him get more time on the ball in wide areas.

However, he didn’t provide too much of an attacking threat with deliveries into the box.

Chelsea duo Ben Chilwell and Reece James are shining examples at Chelsea of how effective the wing-backs need to be in Tuchel’s sytem.

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