Interview

Tuchel: I'll get the best out of my strikers

Thomas Tuchel has discussed the responsibility on himself and the rest of the players to get the best out of the talented strikers in our squad.

Despite winning four of the five games since he took charge as our head coach, only one of our goals during that time has been scored by one of our strikers – Tammy Abraham’s winning striker against Barnsley in our FA Cup fifth-round victory last time out.

However, ahead of tonight’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge, he insisted the responsibility for changing that statistic rests with him and the other members of the squad as much as it does with the forwards themselves, as they need to learn to play to the forwards’ strengths to maximise their goal threat.

‘It's my job to create spaces and create chances and make everybody understand how our strikers love to have the ball, how they can be the most dangerous guys they can be, because they have quality. 

'Now it’s on us, on me and on their team-mates, to create the chances that they can score.'

He also believes that arriving in west London at a time when he needs to focus on the players already here, without looking to the transfer market for answers, is helping him to see the possibilities within our squad, although that is still an ongoing process.

‘We have guys here who can score and the good thing in arriving in the middle of a season is you don’t lose your head by thinking about other players. You focus all your energy in developing the potential that we have, and we have potential.

‘Against Barnsley it was very hard to score because we had only nine touches in the box, it’s way too few for what we demand of ourselves, and we clearly have to work on that. We need to push the numbers back up to where they were against Tottenham, against Sheffield United.

‘From there I need to get to know the players a little better, but it comes every day, and then we will find maybe some formations where it’s easier for us to score or to bring the strikers into good positions.’

Tuchel went on to discuss Abraham, the scorer of that FA Cup winner, having been particularly impressed by the determination and resilience displayed by the Academy graduate throughout his career.

‘He deserved to play this game at Barnsley. He had a difficult game against Burnley at home, he suffered from a tactical shift at half-time and did not play against Tottenham and Sheffield United. That’s why he deserved to play, because also he’s a very positive guy, a very clear guy, very ambitious.

‘I like that he made his way on loan. I like that he overcame obstacles in his career. When he went on loan he always scored for his teams, he was always there, and he has the spirit to make it at Chelsea. This is one of the toughest challenges that you can face, but he is ready for that.

‘Against Barnsley he did a good match, because not only did he score the decisive goal, but he was also very important in defensive set-pieces. He cleared many situations for us with his head, he was absolutely ready to suffer, and for that he has all my credit. It’s a good new start for him to step up and show that he can be important.’

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