Tuchel defends Havertz despite fluffing lines as No 9; hits out at Leeds pitch

Tuchel defends Havertz despite fluffing lines as No 9; hits out at Leeds pitch

Thomas Tuchel insists Kai Havertz was unlucky not to score after defending his decision to start the German as Chelsea striker ahead of Timo Werner in the 0-0 draw at Leeds.

Havertz was given the nod ahead of his countryman and played as Chelsea’s most advanced attacker. However, despite several chances falling his way, he was unable to find the breakthrough and missed several openings.

The 0-0 was perhaps a fair result – with Edouard Mendy making two excellent saves to keep Leeds at bay.

The draw is very much an opportunity missed though for Chelsea. A win could have moved them third, but now face their rivals closing in in the race for the top four.

All the attention though was on Havertz‘s role and Tuchel insisted he was happy with his display.

“He is comfortable in high positions and he arrives in the box naturally,” Tuchel told Match of the Day. “Normally he has good finishing and normally the chances he had are enough to score. But unfortunately not today. Of course this is normal for him to play as a No 9 – this is something he can do.”

Asked for his thoughts on the result, Tuchel admitted Chelsea were disappointed only to draw.

“In general I am happy. On a pitch like this against a team like Leeds who put a lot of pressure on you, we created good attacks and generally I am happy with the performance but we want to win. The boys are disappointed which is a good sign.”

Asked about the pitch, which has come in for criticism, Tuchel admits it made it tough for his players.

The pitch was super hard to play on. We had a couple of chances to go ahead and in the end, of course they trouble you and put pressure on. There were enough chances but I don’t want to be too harsh. It happens sometimes that it’s hard to score and you miss big chances.

Reflecting on the pitch, which often saw players losing their feet, Tuchel admits it had been difficult.

“We had enough chances to score. It was an OK game, sometimes it is hard to score. It’s not that you get what you wish for and we have to keep on working hard and be more precise in the opponents’ box.

“It was not so nice to play and the pitch is not in good condition – this is a factor,” he added. “Our timing in the last 20 minutes – we need to be more clinical. We invest a lot against the ball so also we were tired when we arrived in good positions.”


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Chilwell praises Leeds, agrees with Tuchel

Ben Chilwell reserved praise for Leeds, but admitted he was disappointed at seeing his side held 0-0.

“Coming into the game people would have predicted goals,” he told BT Sport. “The way Leeds play is free flowing, they’re athletic and switch positions on the pitch a lot. It was a tough game, it was disappointing we didn’t get the win.

Jorginho, Tyler Roberts, Leeds v Chelsea

“There were chances, I had a few and one I should score. Defensively we’re solid but going forward we want to score more goals to get these sort of wins. When it comes down to it we know we can rely on Edouard [Mendy] to provide those crucial saves for us.”

On rotation in the team: “It is [challenging]. It’s a good thing when you have so many good players in each position. It means everyone’s fighting for a spot and we push each other. It’s a good thing.”

READ MORE: Tuchel scraps controversial Lampard ruling with cheeky Chelsea remark

 

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