Thomas Tuchel reveals that he left Timo Werner out of the starting XI against Manchester United to give him a break after the German had started 29 of the Blues’ 37 matches this season before their goalless clash with the Red Devils
Thomas Tuchel has revealed that he left Timo Werner out of the Chelsea starting XI against Manchester United because he felt the forward needed a break.
Werner, who made his debut for the Blues in September after moving from RB Leipzig, started alongside Olivier Giroud in the 1-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and had started 29 of the team’s 37 matches in all competitions this season before Sunday’s game, featuring in 34 of them.
However Tuchel, who before the match suggested that his possession-based style was not playing to Werner’s strengths, opted to bring in Hakim Ziyech against the Red Devils, with the Dutchman partnering Mason Mount behind Giroud.
Thomas Tuchel dropped Timo Werner against Manchester United after his run of league starts
Werner did replace Hakim Ziyech on 78 minutes – but was unable to convert a chance late on
Werner did replace Ziyech on 78 minutes and had a good chance to win the game as it finished goalless.
Speaking after his side missed the chance to leapfrog West Ham and move back into the top four, Tuchel explained why the 24-year-old had been dropped.
‘We had the feeling to give Timo a little break, to have him from the bench and also fresh for the fixture against Liverpool,’ he said. ‘I felt him a little bit tired after many games in a row.’
Werner has started all seven games in which he has featured since Tuchel’s arrival. Of the matches he didn’t play, he was on the bench for the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach’s opening game in charge against Wolves and was left out of the squad against Barnsley on February 11 to conserve his energy for the run-in.
The 24-year-old’s goal against Newcastle earlier this month is his only one so far under Tuchel
Unfortunately for the £47.5million signing, the goalscoring struggles that became a real issue under Frank Lampard have continued since his successor was appointed, with Werner’s only goal under Tuchel so far coming against Newcastle earlier this month, which ended a run of 14 Premier League games without a goal in the process.
Werner had the perfect opportunity to double his tally under Tuchel after being brought on in the closing stages against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, but he needed to be more determined to get on the end of James’ lovely cross, with Tuchel screaming at Werner to throw himself at the ball.
Werner now has just five goals in 25 league games this season and will hope to be given another opportunity to make it six when Chelsea travel to Liverpool on Wednesday, with a draw taking Tuchel’s side temporarily above the Hammers.