Interview

Werner assesses recent ups and downs, pinpoints areas to improve and previews a ‘hard game’ against West Ham

Timo Werner believes Chelsea must find the solutions to bounce back from consecutive Premier League defeats and feels that could lie in managing games better during difficult moments.

No side goes through a campaign without experiencing various ups and downs, with the current season proving more tumultuous and unpredictable than usual due to a variety of factors, including the shorter pre-season period and more congested calendar. 

At times, it feels like 2020/21 is being played at fast-forward speed, with snapshot assessments quickly proving out-of-date. Had Chelsea beaten Everton at Goodison Park earlier in the month, we would have gone top of the league; two losses later and the Blues could arrive at Stamford Bridge later this evening in ninth.

For Werner, that just encapsulates the rollercoaster first three months of this term, though our performances in those recent games have indicated to the German where the team must get better.

‘Every team has ups and downs,’ he said in the build-up to tonight’s London derby. ‘We are struggling a little but in the last two games we were not so bad to win the games. 

‘We didn’t do well in some situations. Against Everton, of course a mistake can happen but after the penalty, we had no control over the game and no chances. When we led 1-0 against Wolves, in the past this was always a strength for us to get the second goal and the third goal with counter-attacks or corners but there we conceded over sloppy defending. 

‘We wanted to win the game but we forgot that Wolves have a very good transition in counter-attacks. That’s not the style of how we want to win games or play games and it was a little bit naïve to lose the game at the end.

‘We have to learn from these things and do better in these games to get a draw, like Liverpool did against Fulham recently. It’s more in your favour than losing two points and that’s the style of how you become champions.’

Werner, who has been accustomed to a winter break during his time playing in Germany, will soon get his first experience of the frantic festive schedule in England. His manager, Frank Lampard, conceded tiredness may have been a factor in our recent defeats and that admission led to the boss giving the players two days off in the aftermath of the late loss at Molineux. West Ham, like Wolves, have been without the burden of European football during the past few months and have played five less games than the Blues to date this season.

‘We’ve played a lot of games every three days and when you’re playing against teams who are not in Europe, they are not playing so much and have one-week breaks,’ Werner continued. 

‘It’s always hard because they are fit now in the moment and maybe that’s why we’ve been struggling because we are a little bit tired. We have a few injuries as well and we are playing with the same starting 11 in the last few games but we cannot have excuses.’

The Hammers beat us home and away last season so will not be underestimated as they make the trip across the capital with six wins from their opening 13 matches. Werner is aware of their threats but insists the hosts will be up for the challenge under the lights at the Bridge.

‘They’re a good team and they play very good football,’ he added. ‘They are fast to the strikers and the strikers are very good, very fast and make lots of problems for defenders. It’s going to be a hard game but we’re playing at home and we want to win. It’s a London derby, which is always something special, but we want to win not because it’s a derby but so we keep the distance to first place.

‘We can be confident when we play like we have in the whole season so far. We’ve played good football and scored a lot of goals. In the beginning, we struggled a bit to defend our own goal but now I think we have defended very well.’

MORE FROM CHELSEA