Thomas Tuchel has defended Timo Werner amid his latest goal drought at Chelsea.
Werner has just five Premier League goals this term, while he has not scored in 10 matches for club or country since the win over Newcastle United on February 15.
His woes were highlighted by a dreadful miss as Germany lost to North Macedonia this week.
But Tuchel backed Werner at his news conference ahead of Saturday’s home Premier League game against West Brom, a match in which he insisted the forward would start.
Tuchel has since gone into further detail in explaining what Werner must do to emerge from his slump.
The Blues boss stressed the run is nothing unusual, saying he could compile a video featuring horror misses from any striker in world football.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 2, 2021
Tuchel told reporters: “It is pretty natural that he feels safe here. He knows what we and his team-mates demand from him.
“This is not an environment where we are scared to talk about things. We do everything we can as a team to win football games, but we behave like a family, we put things on the table and look at it honestly.
“I refuse to look at the chance from this game against North Macedonia.
“From every striker in the world I’m sure I can make a video from the biggest misses because this is normal, there are big misses in the career of a striker, so why do you look at it, speak of it and all the time?
“He feels safe here. It is not the atmosphere and situation where we all hug him and say this doesn’t matter, but it is also not a moment to point all the finger at him all the time.
“We demand certain things, he needs to have his head up, have a smile on his face, he needs to work his way out of the situation.
“The truth is the situation is not the most enjoyable in his career, but it’s not so bad like everybody wants to describe it or maybe as Timo feels it every time he opens up the newspaper or the internet.
“So, don’t do it, look on the positive side. We have reached the point where it is necessary not to overdo it or do extra training sessions or finishing. Rely on your brain; the body will remember naturally how to score goals.
“To find this zone is maybe the hardest thing to do and easiest to talk about but this is where he is. He will start the game for us, why not? It is clear he is our striker, he is our number nine, so go for it.”
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 2, 2021
Since taking over from Frank Lampard in January, Tuchel has been keen to highlight positive aspects of Werner’s game.
“He is overthinking and puts too much attention on the situation,” Tuchel added.
“Why does he do this? Because he’s a good guy and because he cares about the team.
“He feels bad when he does not score. But the point for Timo is he cares first for the team [and] second for himself, which is unlike a normal number nine player.
“You can see how he works for the team defensively. This is what I mean when I say to Timo, ‘Don’t overthink the situation where you don’t score in the moment and it never happened in your career’.
“[When you miss] it is already the past. You missed a chance, okay. The next chance will come.
“As long as he delivers sprints and hard work against the ball, runs with the ball and keeps his head up, we will protect him. We will not overprotect him but value the part he plays.
“He is a big part in this [unbeaten] run, this excellent run. He can also acknowledge and accept this and focus on the good things.
“Honestly, I’m a little bit fed up about all that [discussion] so I hope he also develops that feeling [of being fed up with it]. It is enough said now. He will be scoring sooner or later.”
MIXED RECORD FOR WERNER
Tuchel is right to suggest Werner has offered plenty beyond goalscoring with his all-round play.
The Germany international has the most Premier League assists (5) of any Chelsea player this season, while his total of 24 chances created is bettered by only three.
Only Hakim Ziyech (0.31 per 90 minutes) has a higher per-game assist tally than Werner (0.22) among the Chelsea squad.
Werner also has two Champions League assists, the joint-most for the Blues in that competition.
In front of goal, though, he has converted just 23 per cent of his 13 shots (excluding blocks) in the Champions League, the seventh best mark in the team.
In the Premier League, he fares a lot worse, with just 11 per cent of his 46 shots (excluding blocks) finding the net, the 11th best total at Chelsea and below fellow strikers Tammy Abraham (23 per cent) and Oliver Giroud (20 per cent).
Even more alarmingly, he has only converted four (20 per cent) of 20 big chances, opportunities where Opta judge a player should be reasonably expected to score.
That is the worst record of any Chelsea player to have had such an opportunity.
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