Thomas Tuchel defends Timo Werner after ‘poor’ performance for Chelsea at Manchester United

Thomas Tuchel came to the defence of his under-fire striker (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has defended Timo Werner’s performance at Manchester United on Sunday after the striker came in for criticism, saying he is still getting back up to speed after injury.

The 25-year-old had a game to forget at Stamford Bridge as the Blues dominated the game but failed to turn their control into goals, eventually held to a 1-1 draw by the Red Devils and needing a Jorginho penalty to cancel out Jadon Sancho’s opener.

Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was critical of the German after the match, saying he was well below par.

‘Poor, poor,’ Hasselbaink told Sky Sports of Werner’s performance at Old Trafford. ‘With the ball, without the ball, he was poor today. Normally he is really sharp with his runs but it was poor.

‘At the end of the day, you’re a No. 9 so you’re going to be judged on the opportunities you get and what you do with it. It wasn’t good enough.

‘He needs to score those chances. He keeps missing big chances, big opportunities. He needs to put them away.’

It was Werner’s first Premier League start in over a month after suffering a hamstring injury in the Champions League and Tuchel has sympathy for the forward as he regains his rhythm.

‘I think that we still see he hasn’t played for a long time so can we expect that he is on the absolute peak? No, we cannot. It’s what we expect at this moment,’ said the Blues boss.

‘He looked very sharp in training scored many goals in the last two training sessions that’s why I went for my gut and put him on the pitch and hoped that he can hurt the two central defenders.

‘It was a decision for Timo because he looked really sharp and had the goal against Juventus and we thought he could be the decisive threat in the middle. it is not easy for him today and you can see he lacks some games and from here we go.’

Timo Werner had a game to forget at Old Trafford on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Roy Keane was typically less sympathetic on Sky Sports, saying: ‘He’s not even hitting the target with some of these chances.

‘At least make the goalkeeper make a save. For a striker, hit the target, make the keeper work.’

Werner has scored just three goals in all competitions so far this season with just one of those coming in the Premier League.

He was given a start against United on Sunday, but with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic all on the bench, he may find himself out of the team when the Blues go to Watford on Wednesday.

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