Tactics played a major part in Saturday’s big win over Manchester City, but so did individual performances reckons Timo Werner, who was crucial in the game’s deciding moment.
Thomas Tuchel’s strategy had to be spot on when coming up against a side managed by Pep Guardiola according to our head coach’s compatriot on the pitch, but with that in place and Chelsea primed to attack on the break and deny the Citizens their own chances, could the players execute their duties well enough?
They certainly did so when after being sprung by a Mason Mount pass, Werner picked out Hakim Ziyech for the game’s winner.
‘It was a good pass from Mason and then I saw Hakim and the only thing I was thinking about was to put the ball in the middle so he can score, and it was good that I put the ball right there,’ reflected Werner.
‘I think it was almost exactly the same goal like against Atletico, that works very well, and we have the same one in the first half [against Man City] where it was close but I was offside.
‘All the offensive players we have a good relationship and we can find each other. We have a good mix between guys who can come into the ball but who can also go behind the lines - so my relationship with Hakim but also with others is very good.'
Making a difference
‘I think maybe the best teams in England at the moment played each other and I think it was a 50-50 game. In the end we won because we made the counter-attacks and we made one goal and at the end we defend very well, like the games before, and we can say that maybe the better team on the day has won.
‘In these type of games it is very important you have a good tactic but in the end what decides it is the one-v-ones on the field, the individual class of the different players, and in those two we were better than City which is why we win the game. Both teams and both managers have very good tactics and in the end you have to win the duels and that is what we did.’
Though on average the most central of the attackers, Werner was typically mobile with his positioning and runs. His nine assists for the season now almost match his 10 goals.
‘When you don’t score you have to help the team with a lot of things and at the moment I help the team with assists,’ he says. ‘It is not my main target, but I could help with a good assist to win the game so I am very happy with that and I am not the type of guy who only wants to score. I want to win the games and when I assist and at the end help the team like this then it is also very good.
‘It was much harder than maybe when you play against other teams, because City is one of the best teams in Europe. It is not a bigger win but it is for us to see that we can match up with the best teams in Europe, that is why we are in the semi-finals of the Champions League and that is why we are in the final of the FA Cup, so we are on a good trip to try to win two titles.
‘At the end it is a great season when you win a title so we are not finished yet. We have to play the semi-final and we have to play the final, and also in the league we want to come in the top four so we have a lot to do. This is a little step on our way to a title so we keep going and we can win a title at the end.’
The 25-year-old is certainly looking forward to playing his first FA Cup final in a month’s time.
‘It will be great. It is a very beautiful stadium and I had the chance to play here in front of 90,000 with the national team. It is different with an empty stadium and hopefully there will be a lot of people in the stadium.’