Thomas Tuchel not interested in price tags in bid for winning Chelsea formula

Nick Purewal, PA

Thomas Tuchel has vowed to ignore price tags at Chelsea as he searches for match-winning quality in the final third.

Chelsea wasted their dominance in territory and possession to register a frustrating 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton on Saturday.

Tuchel bared his teeth for the first time in his Stamford Bridge reign by mercilessly replacing substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi and criticising the England winger’s “attitude”.

The demanding German then later insisted he has not been parachuted in at Chelsea to blend all the club’s expensively-assembled talent and that he will focus only on winning.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, pictured, was replaced just 31 minutes after coming on against Southampton on Saturday
Callum Hudson-Odoi, pictured, was replaced just 31 minutes after coming on against Southampton on Saturday (Andrew Couldridge/PA)

Asked if one of his main tasks in west London is to gel the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic into a seamless unit, Tuchel replied: “My job is to win games, not to put some expensive guys together; I absolutely don’t agree.”

Chelsea remain unbeaten under new boss Tuchel, but the repercussions of hauling off Hudson-Odoi after just a 31-minute substitute cameo may not be short-lived.

Tuchel claimed the incident was nothing personal and would be forgotten with a day, with Hudson-Odoi in contention to start Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid in Bucharest.

The former Paris St Germain boss also insisted Hudson-Odoi’s confidence would take no hit from such open critique.

But this was the first time Tuchel had dispensed with expediency when it came to matters of man management since taking the Stamford Bridge helm.

Chelsea spurned a glut of final-third situations due to a lack of precision on the ball, leaving Tuchel to insist the Blues must simply sharpen up, regardless of formation.

“You will score in any structure or concede in any structure; the structure is never the problem or the solution,” said Tuchel.

“It is always the input of the players, the structure is fluid. You find the spaces where you find the spaces, in different structures you find different spaces.

“For sure you can pick more offensive players but in the moment it is a balanced game. It is about not conceding and also scoring.

“We think day and night about scoring and creating chances, we play high up the pitch and the statistics from the last matches I know we don’t score enough for the amount of touches in the box and the amount of creating.

“In the moment it is a lack of precision, not a lack of opportunities or lack of touches in the box.

“It is a lack of quality in decision-making; I did not feel in the last 10 metres that we would kill the game when it is there to be done.

“I will analyse and it is my job to create more or bigger chances.”

Southampton ended their record Premier League losing streak of six matches thanks to a fine goal from Takumi Minamino.

Saints took the lead and a shocked Chelsea needed Mason Mount’s penalty to rescue a point on the south coast.

Nathan Redmond laid on a smart through-ball for Minamino’s goal, leaving boss Ralph Hasenhuttl to hail the ex-Norwich star’s best position as now in a central attacking role.

“I see this more and more as his best position,” said Hasenhuttl.

“He produced a great assist and what he needs now is a goal. This is what has to come in the future now.

“But in this position he’s able to influence what we do and he was good.”

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