Thomas Tuchel is “absolutely convinced” he can rebuild Timo Werner’s shattered confidence and help the Germany striker start scoring freely again at Chelsea.
New Blues boss Tuchel intends to use Werner as halfway between a second striker and a number 10, a mix of those two roles deployed in the 24-year-old’s favoured inside-left area.
Werner notched four Premier League goals in a promising Stamford Bridge start, but ground to a halt as Frank Lampard’s tenure fell away.
The £53million summer signing has nine Chelsea goals in all – but just one in his last 16 appearances.
New manager Tuchel is determined to steer Werner back to his best though, and believes he knows just how to make that happen.
“I would say he prefers to have space, because he’s super-fast and he likes to play in the last line, very, very high up – but a little more to the left, half-open to the goal and to receive balls into open space,” said Tuchel.
“Can we develop movements, patterns, behaviour to use his quality in narrow spaces? That’s my job and I’m absolutely convinced we can – because the guy is open, the guy is friendly and the guy is eager to learn.
“At the moment, why I did not use him against Wolves on Wednesday, I saw his face was a bit closed, and the weight is on his shoulders.
“He cares a lot and that shows he has a fantastic character.
“Right now it’s important to rebuild his trust in himself and to find a smile on his face and stop doubting too much.
“It’s my job to do this, to help him with this and then to find also a position where we can use his strengths.”
Former Paris St Germain boss Tuchel replaced Lampard at Chelsea’s helm on Tuesday, jumping straight into action with Wednesday’s goalless draw with Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues dominated territory and possession but could find no way through Wolves’ low block – a common problem under former manager Lampard.
Tuchel believes Werner can become the kind of matchwinner to open up such low-sitting defences, as the German boss bids to stamp his authority on proceedings with the Blues.
Tuchel’s Stamford Bridge tenure could well stand or fall on his ability or otherwise to maximise the talents of both Werner and Kai Havertz, the big-money summer arrivals who struggled under Lampard.
“Sometimes as a striker it does not help if you care a lot – sometimes as a striker it’s better not to care at all,” said Tuchel.
“But he’s not that guy. He cares and he’s not happy with himself and with the way things went lately.
“There will be games – on Wednesday we had 80 per cent ball possession and it felt like we played 90 per cent of the match in the last 30 metres – but there are movements to create with him that he can help us, I am sure.”