Souness in bizarre claim to downplay Tuchel effect at Chelsea
Graeme Souness does not believe Chelsea have improved exponentially under Thomas Tuchel because of his tactics.
Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager in January when Chelsea were ninth in the Premier League table, level on points with Southampton and behind Aston Villa having played two games more.
But Tuchel has guided them to 18 wins and six draws in his first 28 matches, taking them to an FA Cup final defeat against Leicester and third place in the Premier League with a game to play ahead of next week’s Champions League final versus Manchester City.
Most would happily credit the German for his tactical overhaul at Stamford Bridge, but Souness believes any improvement is down solely to an increase in ‘intensity and aggression’.
‘I do not buy that Chelsea have been transformed by the tactical wizardry of Thomas Tuchel, but they are playing with more intensity and aggression, and move up and down the pitch as a unit better,’ he wrote in his column for The Times.
‘He is getting more out of players all across the pitch because he is used to being around big players from his previous job at Paris Saint-Germain.’
Souness went much further when discussing the form of forward Timo Werner, who has 12 goals in 50 games after joining from Leipzig last summer for around £47m.
‘I said when Frank Lampard was sacked that Werner failing to take chances contributed to that,’ he added. ‘He has to improve or he is on borrowed time.
‘Offering Werner to Borussia Dortmund in part-exchange for Erling Haaland is one option Chelsea could consider this summer.
‘When Jorginho is your top scorer in the league with seven goals, all penalties, that is a concern if you want to win the big trophies. The rule of thumb is the higher you go in football, the fewer chances you get and you have to be more clinical in taking them.
‘I’m sure it is a mystery to Werner because he got a load of goals last year. OK, it is a different club and league, but he is not calculating or subtle enough when he gets the chances and seems to be snatching at everything.
‘It is the most difficult place to play. You are surrounded by bodies and you have to make up your mind: is it in that corner or the other one, do I take it with the outside or inside of my foot or put my laces through it?
‘These are all instincts that you do not have time to think about. Werner has not shown that at Chelsea, but must have it in him because of his goals in Germany.’
Tuchel is thought to have reignited Chelsea’s interest in Declan Rice ahead of this summer. Stick him up front instead.
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