Thomas Tuchel has defended misfiring Chelsea striker Timo Werner and refused to comment about potentially replacing him in the transfer window.
Werner arrived at Chelsea in a big-money move from RB Leipzig last summer. However, he has not been able to replicate the form he showed in Germany. He has just five Premier League goals to his name so far and the last of those came over a month ago.
Werner’s struggles extended onto the international stage during the recent break as well. He missed a big chance for Germany in their shock 2-1 loss to North Macedonia.
It summed up his lack of confidence at present, a problem that Tuchel will now have to confront as club action returns.
However, Werner’s compatriot gave him a show of support and confirmed he will start on Saturday against West Brom.
“It was a bad pass from Ilkay Gundogan is how I see it!” Tuchel exclaimed. “I’m only joking. He missed that chance and everybody is passionate to talk about it which is a bit annoying.
“It’s easy at the moment to point the finger at Timo, which I can’t understand. I am happy he is back here.
“To look at it honestly, he is in a moment where he lacks confidence and things aren’t too easy. The goals are not working out as usual but he works out for us.
“He still scores for us, still assists for us, still wins penalties. If this is the most critical point of his career you can say it’s still pretty impressive so far.
“Timo has scored since he was five years old and he never stopped. So he can trust his brain and body, it will come back. That’s easier said than done.
“Yesterday I sent him in from training because he wanted to do extra finishing with us. But I sent him in because it will come. The goals will come.
“Of course, he needs to do something and the best thing to do is to work hard. Work hard against the ball, make runs, don’t hesitate, be fearless, don’t overthink it.
“That’s easy for me to say but it’s the challenge right now. Timo will start tomorrow and there we go.”
Looking further ahead, there have been rumours that Werner will be sold in the summer. Chelsea are looking to sign Erling Haaland from Tuchel’s former club Borussia Dortmund and need to make room.
Haaland’s entourage have been holding talks with clubs in Spain and are due to do the same in England. But Tuchel refused to comment on the Norwegian striker.
“I will not answer that out of respect for the player and Borussia Dortmund,” he said.
“There is big news around him and his agent. It seems like they are creating a race for the player and I will fully accept this a player for Borussia Dortmund, a promising player of course.
“But he isn’t our player and is not in our squad. So we will not comment on anything else regarding Haaland.”
A similar response met a question about Sergio Aguero, who will be leaving Manchester City when his contract ends in the summer.
Still with a point to prove, Aguero could stay in the Premier League with Chelsea, but Tuchel would not discuss the idea.
“You can ask but it’s the same answer as Haaland,” he insisted. “We have full respect for Manchester City and Sergio Aguero, who is a big player for them.
“There is no words needed for me about the achievements of this guy; he is a world-class player.
“But we have three competitions in which we are in with Manchester City so I will not speak about their player.”
Tuchel waiting on transfers
Indeed, Tuchel is putting all thoughts of transfers on the backburner until they get a clearer idea of the answers to five key questions.
“We have to wait,” he explained. “It’s another strange situation with the pandemic. It is necessary that we need to adapt and be patient.
“Is there a market? How does it look? What can we invest in? Are there chances to generate money with interest in our players? Can other clubs buy our players?
“The situation is not clear and so for me, it’s best to be patient and I agree with the club in this. We have to fully trust the guys we have.
“We have eight decisive weeks of decisive matches in which we can achieve our goals. My trust and concentration is on the players that are here.”