Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel admits ‘big relief’ as Timo Werner’s scoring drought comes to an end
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has expressed his “relief” after Timo Werner netted against Newcastle to end a 14-match Premier League goal drought.
Striker Werner had not scored in the top flight since 7 November but grabbed the Blues’ second goal in a 2-0 home victory over Newcastle on Monday.
The German, signed from RB Leipzig for £53million last summer, should now kick on – according to his compatriot in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
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Asked if Werner breaking his duck can open the floodgates for the 24-year-old, Tuchel said: “Yes, for sure; he won’t be the first striker who has to deal with something like this.
“For the strikers the last per cent of their confidence and of belief comes from goals and nothing else. But he worked really hard for that.
“He looked really decisive with assists, and winning penalties in the last few games for us. And today he has an assist and a goal and this is super for him.
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“I’m happy because he put in a lot of effort and hard work against the ball. Now it’s a big relief but we saw it coming.”
Chelsea coasted past a worryingly limited Newcastle, with Olivier Giroud tapping home after replacing Tammy Abraham, who had suffered an ankle injury.
The Blues jumped back into the top four for the first time since December, with defending champions Liverpool slipping to sixth.
Former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss Tuchel insisted Chelsea have only clawed their way back into the Champions League qualification places by ignoring the league table entirely. And the 47-year-old has called on his players to keep their eyes off the standings, especially now the table makes better reading for the men in blue.
“Many people said when we started that it wouldn’t be possible because there were many places and points between us and Liverpool in fourth place,” said Tuchel.
“It was clear that it was not all in our hands and we needed results on other pitches to close the gap. From then on, we spent not one minute thinking about the other pitches and other teams, the situations with the fixtures. We just spent every minute with our team focusing on us.
“Normally, it can be a reward today to look at the fixtures but it cannot be a distraction from Thursday onwards.
“We worked hard for this momentum. The players have worked incredibly hard to win all these games in a row and it will not stop.”
Newcastle produced a wretched performance, with Steve Bruce’s men now in serious danger of being dragged into a relegation dogfight. Under-fire boss Bruce insisted there were positives from Newcastle’s second-half showing – but by then the damage was already done with Chelsea obviously coasting to a facile victory.
“Three or four points the other way takes you to an even safer position,” said Bruce.
“We’ve had a difficult spell in terms of picking up points. We have to keep our nerve, and keep playing our way.
“Make no mistake, we found it difficult in the first half. But we changed things slightly and we had more intensity about our game.”
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