Thomas Tuchel has urged his Chelsea forwards to step up and deliver ahead of their huge UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
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Chelsea lead 1-0 from the first leg but heading into the second leg, scoring goals continues to be a problem for Tuchel’s side.
They have scored just 13 times in his 12 game in charge so far, and although Chelsea have improved defensively they dropped points at Leeds this weekend in a 0-0 draw.
When asked if his forwards are maybe struggling to score because he keeps rotating them around, Tuchel admitted that could be a factor but then also said this.
Tuchel urges forwards to step up
“If you arrive at elite level football, if you play for Chelsea, there is no time,” Tuchel said. “The time simply does not exist. You are constantly in competition with other players in your team on a friendly and very respectful basis, but there is no time. There is no time to get four or five matches in a row until you score regularly, it does not exist. This is not a secret, it is a given.”
Tuchel revealed that he and his staff are focusing specifically on the art of scoring goals and making correct decisions with the correct technique at the correct time. Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all been used in the three attacking positions so far, and only Mount and Hudson-Odoi have taken their chance, the latter has looked better in a wing-back role.
As for the training pitch, it sounds like Chelsea have gone back to basics ahead of their huge game against an Atletico Madrid side who are usually ruthless in front of goal and so tight in defense.
“We are trying to put them in a good mindset. We are pushing them. We are working hard against the ball with the whole team so this is also a point. We did some changes because we needed to adapt. The results are not so crazy bad that we need to ask ourselves if we are doing everything wrong here. We create enough touches in the box. We create enough chances and half chances to win games. We had enough chances against Leeds to win comfortably,” Tuchel said.
“But we need to be more precise, focus better on our decision making and the technique on how to finish. Those are the points we work on and our strikers are very aware of that and they have the highest demands of themselves. We are not pointing fingers, just to make this clear. We blame nobody for nothing. But we speak about what we do well and what we can improve and we can clearly improve with finishing.”
Future of Timo Werner at Chelsea discussed
Tuchel laughed off suggestions that Timo Werner, Chelsea’s main misfiring striker who has scored just once in his last 19 Premier League games, is unhappy and could return to Germany this summer.
Reports have linked Chelsea with a move for Erling Haaland with Werner going the other way to Borussia Dortmund as part of the deal.
“There is no reason for him to now be frustrated. He played an amazing match against Liverpool, maybe his best match since I arrived,” Tuchel said. “Then he had a good match against Everton with a lot of chances to score, which he normally is clinical enough. He did not score and this sticks in a situation like this. This can effect his self-confidence, of course, but what does it help? The clear advice from us is don’t focus on the result, focus on the process and get your decision making right. Get your technique right. Get your decisions right. And the ball will do the rest.
“There is simply no time to reflect on what is going to be in the summer and next year. I don’t see why he needs to be too frustrated, we gave him a little time to breathe against Leeds. It was hard for him to come on in that game, but I don’t see why he should be too frustrated. No one is blaming the strikers, this is a team effort to attack and defend. But we expect our guys to create more chances, to be more decisive. We expect our defenders to be on a high level an also our strikers.”
The key message from Tuchel to his players?
There is no time to mess around. The time is now.