Timo Werner believes the real Chelsea are finally starting to emerge after a start to the season disrupted by a lack of preparation time and injuries.
Reflecting on his first 10 games at the club, in which he has scored five goals and opened his account in the Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League, the striker feels he is learning quickly about the different opponents the Blues come up against both at home and abroad.
Ahead of our latest European assignment tomorrow when Rennes visit Stamford Bridge on matchday three of the Champions League, Werner has been speaking to the media via video link from Cobham and started by explaining how a fit, fresh and in-form squad are starting to click.
‘The first 10 games for Chelsea have been really good for me,’ he said first of his own adaptation to life in England.
‘We have a good team and you can see that now everyone is fit and out of quarantine and injuries. We have played and trained together for two months now and we’re becoming a very good team. If the next games continue like this, it would be perfect.’
Werner has quickly settled and established himself as a key part of Frank Lampard’s plans. He has started all but one of our opening 11 games of the campaign, sitting out the cup win over Barnsley as an unused substitute, and even found himself in the team at Burnley on Saturday despite having not initially been named on the teamsheet due to Christian Pulisic’s late withdrawal.
The 24-year-old acknowledges that tiredness from time to time is inevitable given the hectic schedule but he is used to such demands after breaking through as a teenager in the Bundesliga.
‘Of course, some days I’m tired because of the amount of games I’ve played but I did it last year as well and these days it’s normal to play so many games,’ he continued.
‘Every player needs a rest sometimes but it’s good to play every game so it’s no problem for me. Every team that plays in Europe has a game every three days so it’s not only us. It’s difficult but we have a big squad with so many good players.’
The aim for that squad is to challenge on multiple fronts this season, including in the Champions League. Werner helped RB Leipzig, his former club, win a last-16 tie against Tottenham last season, with his penalty settling the first leg in north London, although he had moved to Stamford Bridge by the time the Germans resumed their campaign and were beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were knocked out by eventual winners Bayern Munich after the post-lockdown restart and Werner feels the aim this term should be not just to better that run to the last-16 but to go for ultimate glory.
‘We have the goal to go very far in this competition,’ he stated. ‘We’re not here to say, “we want to reach the next round and then we’ll see what happens”. We’re here to win the Champions League.
‘Every team in the competition has a lot of games this year and has to think about how best to manage it, who can play, how many games can a player play one after another. We have a good chance, not just this year but also in the next years too.’
Playing in the Champions League was a key motivation in Werner’s compatriot Kai Havertz seeking a move from Bayer Leverkusen this summer and the young midfielder has also settled quickly in his first few months in London.
Havertz got his first taste of Europe’s premier club competition last season, although Leverkusen struggled in a tough group alongside Juventus and Atletico Madrid, finishing third. Werner is close to his Germany international team-mate and believes it won’t be long before he is lighting up the biggest stage.
‘I know Kai very well and he is one of the most talented players in the whole world,’ added Werner. ‘He is a young boy, just 21 years old, and he can learn a lot but he already plays like a much older player.
‘We talk a lot about settling in and he’s very happy to be here. In a lot of games, he has shown his strengths and what he can bring to the team. For Kai, it’s very important to score but you can see in his game more than just goals – key passes and the movement he makes for other players. He is very talented and he will get better and better every game.’