Chelsea: Tuchel rues lack of composure and precision
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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has urged Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel to give Tammy Abraham more opportunities to prove himself, suggesting that the England international is being treated unfairly in comparison to the likes of Timo Werner. Abraham has rarely featured for the Blues since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January, and was left as an unused substitute for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first-leg clash against Real Madrid.
Christian Pulisic’s early opener handed Chelsea a welcome advantage, but an impressive volley from Karim Benzema ensured the two sides would be going into next week’s decisive second-leg meeting on level terms.
The Blues can book their place at this season’s Champions League final with a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, having managed to find a crucial away goal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Abraham was a first-team regular under Lampard but has struggled to convince Tuchel of his abilities since recovering from an ankle injury earlier this month.
He made a three-minute cameo during the closing stages of Saturday’s narrow victory over West Ham, a match in which Werner scored his first goal in over two months.
The German forward was handed the starting berth in attack once again on Tuesday, but missed two big chances to double Chelsea’s goal tally including a first-half sitter from the edge of the six-yard box.
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Ferdinand, who won the Champions League title with United in 2008, believes that Werner is receiving preferential treatment due to his status as a big-money signing, while academy graduate Abraham has been left out in the cold.
“It’s crazy,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “A young player, does he get the time that a Timo Werner, new signing gets when they come in?
“And they’re not treated with as much care and understanding of their character and cotton wool that a new signing gets.
“A new signing gets the investment but you’re investing in a young player. A young player adds so much value to a team but they don’t ever get that time or patience that a new signing gets.
“Tammy wouldn’t get the time Timo gets. He [Werner] scored at the weekend but he missed a sitter at the weekend. He missed another tonight.
“If you’re Tammy, you’re sitting there going: ‘Right, OK, I’ve got to be playing at least at the weekend to get myself in the shop window for the next game against Madrid’.”
Despite his lack of action since the turn of the year, Abraham remains Chelsea’s top scorer with 12 goals in all competitions this season.
Tuchel’s reluctance to play the 23-year-old has sparked rumours of an impending departure from Stamford Bridge, with Aston Villa said to be the front runners for his signature in the event that he is made available this summer.
The German boss defended his handling of the situation earlier this month, stressing that he strives to act in the team’s best interests and claiming that he cannot satisfy every player within the club’s ranks.
“I can only judge what I see,” Tuchel told reporters. “I saw a bright young man in front of me. I saw a guy who is self-confident, who has a lot of talent.
“But it cannot be that in a period of such good results that suddenly the guys who don’t play are the winners. This is not logical to me.
“He was for some weeks not available, so is it now the moment to do crazy stuff and try things? If you just look at the data, you will say: ‘OK, he’s the top scorer’.
“If you look at the data since we are here, it will maybe tell you a different story. I can’t make my decisions based on the personal goals of my players.”
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