Chelsea’s rise up the Premier League table and progress in both domestic and European cup competitions has been founded on a strong defence, though it is up the other end of the pitch that Thomas Tuchel is targeting bigger numbers in the final, crucial weeks of the season…
The Blues have not netted through one of our nominal strikers since Olivier Giroud’s first-leg winner against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, a run of eight matches.
During that period, we have scored 11 goals from the likes of Mason Mount (3), Hakim Ziyech (2), Christian Pulisic, Emerson Palmieri, Ben Chilwell and Jorginho, though a lack of firepower from the forwards has led Tuchel to explain what can be done to improve the situation between now and the end of the campaign.
‘For the next eight weeks, we just have to think about how we can improve the scoring situation and then in the summer we will think further together with the club about the best solutions for us,’ said our German head coach.
‘Everybody knows, and when you read the statistics it is obvious, that the guys lack this last percentage of confidence when they don’t score. They work hard for us defensively and they are part of this successful run that we have but scoring is their main target. It’s in their characteristics but obviously it’s a bit hard for them.
‘When you’re out there on the stage playing for Chelsea in three competitions, you have to face the adversity and the expectations that everybody has of you when you play as an offensive guy for Chelsea. These are high demands but I have the feeling they accept them. Everybody wants higher numbers and it’s difficult for us to produce them but we will not stop pushing.’
Tammy Abraham has not scored in the Premier League since Boxing Day but remains our joint-top scorer in the competition with six, leading to some calls for the 23-year-old to be reintegrated into the team following a troublesome ankle injury that has seen him miss the past nine matches.
However, Tuchel insisted he was reticent to make significant changes to a side that had performed so consistently under his charge and instead told Abraham to ensure he was ready for any opportunity that came his way.
‘I can only judge what I see and from what we have together from the first minute when we arrived,’ continued the boss. ‘I saw a bright young man with Tammy, a guy who is self-confident and who has a lot of talent.
‘But it cannot be that in a period of such good results, suddenly the guys who don’t play are the winners. This does not feel logical to me. I’m not so sure it’s the moment to do crazy stuff and try things.
‘It’s super hard to come back when the team is winning and that’s a pretty normal situation but I feel Tammy is totally hungry to turn things around. If you have the number nine on your shirt, you put a lot on your shoulders but sometimes the momentum can change in only some minutes for offensive players.
‘As a striker, you have to always be ready and in the last weeks he was not available. He suffered a bit from the circumstances so maybe it’s not his fault but it’s also not our fault. We just have to accept and find the light at the end of the tunnel for him.’