Timo Werner: Thomas Tuchel defends Chelsea forward amid criticism over club and international form

Thomas Tuchel has defended Timo Werner from criticism over his performances and has revealed that he stopped the struggling forward from doing extra finishing training.

Werner has just two goals in his last 27 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, and attracted further derision when he missed a glorious chance for Germany during their humiliating 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia earlier this week.

However, Tuchel accused critics in his homeland of using Werner as a scapegoat for all of Germany’s issues, and suggested national team boss Joachim Low should not have named him as a substitute in all three of his side’s fixtures during the international break.

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Asked about Werner’s miss against North Macedonia, Tuchel said: “First of all, it was a bad pass from Ilkay Gundogan – that’s how I see it!

“He missed a chance and now everybody is passionate to talk about it, which is a bit annoying. The truth is he did not start three times for Germany, so maybe if he has more minutes, maybe they would have scored more.

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“It’s an easy solution to point the finger at Timo, which I cannot fully understand and I will not accept. I am happy that he’s back here, because here he’s protected. We demand a lot from him; we get a lot from him.

“Yes, he is in a moment where he lacks confidence. The ball simply does not work out like it usually works out. But he works hard for us.

“He scores for us, he’s doing assists, he’s winning penalties. So if this is the most critical point in your career, you can accept it and say, ‘it’s pretty impressive so far’.

“Now is the moment not to think about it, not to read about it and not even to train extra. Yesterday I sent him in from training because he wanted to do some finishing.

“I said, ‘you don’t need that. Your body, your brain knows how to score. You did it since you were six years old. So don’t worry, it will come.’ The best thing to do is to work hard and be fearless.”

Tuchel further backed Werner by confirming he will start for Chelsea in their Premier League fixture at home to West Brom on Saturday, although the Blues will be without N’Golo Kante, who was injured on international duty with France.

Tuchel believes the midfielder will also miss Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto, saying: “Probably, yes. It’s very likely that it’s too soon.

“He’s doing individual training. Tomorrow he will miss the game. It’s a little muscle injury. My realistic approach is to think for the second game against Porto.”

Tuchel brushes off Haaland, Aguero links

Werner’s struggles have led to speculation that Chelsea could once again be in the market for a new striker this summer, with Erling Haaland and Sergio Aguero both linked with moves to Stamford Bridge.

Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola, plus his father Alf Inge Haaland, met officials from Barcelona and Real Madrid on Thursday amid reports the 20-year-old could leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

Chelsea would likely be one of only a handful of clubs that could afford the Norwegian international were he to move this summer, but when asked about a potential move, Tuchel said: “I will not answer that, out of respect for the player and Borussia Dortmund.

“Of course it’s big news around him and his agent. It seems like they are creating a race for the player. But everybody needs to accept this is a player for Borussia Dortmund. A very promising player, of course, but no comments. He’s not in our squad and not in our club.”

Tuchel provided a similar answer when the issue of Sergio Aguero’s future was raised, with the striker leaving Manchester City when his contract expires in June.

“It’s the same answer like for Haaland,” said Tuchel. “We have full respect for Manchester City and Sergio Aguero. He is a big player for them.

“There is no word needed from me about the achievements of this guy. He is a world-class player. But don’t forget we compete in three competitions with Man City, so I will never speak about the player’s future, and I expect that they do the same with our players.”

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