Tuchel on Havertz hitting form and managing James’ fitness

Thomas Tuchel has been discussing what Kai Havertz brings to the team as his excellent form continues, as well as explaining how he is continuing to show caution with Reece James’ return to action after two months out injured.

Havertz has been increasingly impressive in recent weeks, especially when featuring in the central striker’s role in Tuchel’s usual 3-4-3 system, finding the back of the net four times in his last five appearances for the Blues.

With other options in attack including Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Tuchel discussed why it is becoming harder and harder for him to consider leaving Havertz out of his team after the 22-year-old scored a brace in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Burnley.

‘Of course, it is what it is in the moment. The players put themselves on the pitch with performances in training and matches,’ he said. ‘He gives a lot of intensity, he’s involved in goals and he scored again, so it’s a very good moment and it’s on him to keep on going.

‘This is how it is. We played the last cup match without him, Timo was very strong and was very close to starting today, Romelu got his goal and we will need everybody, but at the moment Kai is in a very good shape.’

Tuchel also outlined what it is that Havertz is doing so well at the moment, insisting his form isn't the result of changing any parts of his game, but purely down to quality of performance.

‘It’s not about differences but what he gives is a huge volume. He covers a lot of metres and in high intensity, so he finds the intensity no matter in what system the opponent defends against us. He finds intensive runs, he finds distances and that’s what makes him.

‘He uses his body more and more, he loves to create overloads in half-spaces and this is what he gives. It’s just his style of play, his characteristics as a player, and he’s in good shape, he’s confident.

‘He did not have such a good first half against Burnley, but then he was decisive in the second half and scored twice, so it’s good.’

Another player who impressed in the win over Burnley was James, who got a goal and an assist on his first start since December, before being withdrawn by our head coach in the second half with the game won.

Tuchel explained why his return is so welcome for the Blues, as well as insisting he is being cautious with the demands he places on the wing-back so soon after a lengthy injury.

‘I said it many times, I think the biggest struggle in this season up to this moment, and it’s not finished, was the long-term injuries of key players and of course Reecey is one of the key players and also Ben Chilwell.

‘The good thing is we took Reece off and I think it makes a huge difference at the moment for him if he plays 65 or 70 minutes, not 90 minutes, which is now quite ideal because we have four days in between before Norwich, which should give us the possibility that he plays again in Norwich.

‘Of course we have to take care as far as we can take care about him, and we cannot right now over-use him.’

Tuchel also confirmed that the reason for Marcos Alonso’s recent absence for the team, including for that victory at Turf Moor, is down to the Spaniard suffering from Covid.

‘Marcos is still ill. He has quite a lot of Covid symptoms so he’s absolutely not able to do training or a game.’

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