It was during his first press conference as Chelsea head coach that Thomas Tuchel confirmed what every Blues fan knew: Timo Werner is not finding things easy at Stamford Bridge.
“I see his face is a bit closed and the weight is on his shoulders,” Tuchel told reporters on Thursday.
“He cares a lot and that shows he has a fantastic character. Sometimes as a striker it does not help if you care a lot. Sometimes as a striker it’s better to not care at all.
“But he’s not that guy. He cares and he’s not happy with himself and with the way things went lately.”
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That’s no surprise. During his time in Germany, Werner built a reputation as one of Europe’s most-feared forwards. His pace, positioning and finishing ability made him so prolific for RB Leipzig. It’s why Chelsea paid the best part of £50 million to bring him to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Werner started well at Chelsea; he netted eight times in his opening eleven matches for the club under Frank Lampard. But then the goals dried up and the 24-year-old’s confidence disintegrated.
Lampard gave Werner every opportunity to rediscover his form. He continued to start matches despite his dry spell and was constantly supported by the former Chelsea boss. It was to no avail.
So now the onus is on Tuchel to get Werner firing once again. Ahead of the game with Burnley, Werner had struck only one goal in 16 matches, and that was against League Two side Morecambe in the FA Cup.
But, having sat out the midweek stalemate with Wolves, the 24-year-old was thrust back into the starting XI by Tuchel and in what many would consider his favoured role.
The German was played on the left of Chelsea’s narrow front three with Tammy Abraham leading the attack. Werner was free to roam into space out wide, free to take up…