Timo Werner has explained how a tweak in his position under Thomas Tuchel contributed to his match-winning performance against Sheffield United.
There has been a notable improvement in Werner’s fortunes in recent matches, none more so than on last night’s Premier League trip to Bramall Lane, when he created both our goals in a 2-1 win.
The freedom he has been given to alternate between playing on the shoulder of defenders and dropping deep between the lines was evident as he looked a constant threat throughout that victory with his running on and off the ball.
The German revealed after the game that a change to his role in the team since Tuchel took over as our head coach, playing more centrally and closer to his fellow forwards, is helping him find and exploit space on the pitch to attack defences.
‘Every manager is different in how he wants us to play,’ said Werner. ‘He gives us a lot of ideas. Now I play as a left number 10, not a left winger, so I have more space for my runs in the middle and can play behind a striker, or with a number 10 behind me as a second striker. So it’s very good for me and I think there were also good moves from the manager in the last two wins.’
Werner also reflected on the game against Sheffield United as a whole, as well as his role in our two goals, even he if he was disappointed not to end his own lean spell by getting his name on the score sheet, with one effort looking bound for the net before a last-ditch clearance by the Blades defence early on.
‘Overall I think it’s a good win for us. It was very difficult, the whole game, against a very good high-defending Sheffield United and we are very proud that we win, continuing on from our last wins. For myself, again no goal, but it’s good to see that I can help the team with other things at the moment and I’ll keep going.
‘I’m happy when we win and when I can make two assists like today that is also good, but as a striker you want to score. It’s a long time now for me, I haven’t had so long a period without a goal in my career before, but you can’t do anything against this. You have to keep going and try to do your best on the field and the goals will come.’
Our winning goal came via the penalty spot during five frantic second-half minutes, when first the Blades equalised from a Toni Rudiger own goal and then gave the ball away at the back for Werner to race clear, before he was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Timo admitted that he was surprised it took so long for our penalty to be confirmed, with VAR eventually intervening before Kevin Friend took a second look on the pitchside screen and awarded the foul, as well as confirming the knock that resulted in him leaving the field was caused by that challenge.
‘I was a little bit shocked because for me it was a clear penalty. I put the ball away from the goalkeeper and he hits me clear, but for that I think VAR is good.
‘I got a dead leg – that’s what you call it in England I think – it was at the penalty. The 10 or 15 minutes after were hard, so I told the manager he should take me off because it was a tight game and in the end it’s better to have 11 fit players on the pitch than 10-and-a-half.’