Thomas Tuchel admits that Kai Havertz has provided him with a selection headache ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Having failed to make it off the bench in the Blues’ win over West Ham last week and seeing just 25 minutes of action in Spain in midweek, Havertz returned to the starting 11 on Saturday. He took full advantage of the opportunity too, scoring both goals as they beat Fulham 2-0. The win strengthened their grip on a top four finish.
His display provided a reminder of why the London club were happy to pay more than £70million for his services.
Havertz had shown his huge potential with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. But he has had an indifferent start to life in England, struggling to perform consistently. Contracting the coronavirus and then picking up an injury have not helped his cause.
And while Tuchel praised the technical side of Havertz’s performance, although he did insist there is more to come, he was also pleased by the attitude he showed.
“Still there is room for improvement but I am very happy,” Tuchel said (via Yahoo).
“He was decisive. He was involved with Timo Werner as a double striker and with Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech as the four offensive guys, he was always involved in dangerous attacks and situations.
“For me it was an important individual example. The players today who maybe had a tough decision on them last Tuesday, like Kai against Fulham, didn’t play with the attitude that ‘oh, now they need me’ and ‘I wanted more time in Madrid, why do they play me now only against Fulham’.
“This was absolutely not the case. He took his chance, he showed up. This is what we need all the time and especially in situations like this. You need guys who are fully committed. That means if you have a chance to show up, then show up.”
Tuchel has decision to make for Madrid
On the back of the impressive outing, Tuchel admits Havertz has put himself in contention to start against Real.
“Whether you have five minutes, 15 minutes or a whole game, whatever it is, show that you are ready and give me a headache for the next game,” he added.
“He did that and it is an example for what the whole team did and they get full credit from me.”
Chelsea secured a draw in the Spanish capital in the first leg, netting an important away goal. That puts them in a good position to progress to their first Champions League final since winning it in 2012.
Should they go on to do so, they will meet either Manchester City or PSG in the Istanbul decider.