Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says the wing-backs in his system have the freedom to be ‘dangerous’ in attack.
Chelsea wing-backs Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso have scored eight goals between them already this season and have been heavily involved in our attacking process.
‘This is normally what any manager does in any team, that you try and not rely on any one or two goal scorers but at the same time, sometimes you wish also to rely on one or two consistent goal scorers because it gives you a lift,’ Tuchel said.
‘This is necessary if you want to reach the highest level in any competition, you need consistent goal scoring threats from your strikers.’
After Reece James’ impressive double at Newcastle on Saturday, 13 of Chelsea’s goals this season have been scored by what are generally classed as defenders, including wing-backs.
‘I think this statistic will look a bit different if you interpret the wing-backs more as midfielders because if you play in a back three it is not really a full-back position, more of a midfield position,’ said the Bavarian.
‘I would not call them defenders but they have to defend in some moments like defenders, but they are more free to attack the opponents' box than they are in the role as a full-back.
'So it is necessary that they are included and we bring them to the box at the end of our attacks and increase the goal threat. I am happy when we create chances, and I’m happy when we have five or six players in the box to be dangerous.
‘In this system we play, it’s true that the wing-backs are there and have the freedom to be dangerous.’
Tuchel also highlighted the importance of Callum Hudson-Odoi’s role within the Blues squad.
The Cobham graduate has played at left-wing in our most recent Premier League games against Norwich City and Newcastle, but was asked to play right wing-back in our cup-tie with Southampton last week.
‘He thought that it will be tough to get minutes and maybe easier in another club, but you can never be sure it is like this,' Tuchel said, referring back to the summer. 'I told him straight that we rely on him and that he accepts his role. There is still huge progress he can make within this group and club.
‘Was it always fair to let him play right wing-back? No, maybe not.’ Tuchel admits.
‘But he had to take one for the team and he did. He was always positive and he showed the right spirit. He had a very good pre-season where we could see what he was capable of on the half left side. He struggled in the beginning to prove that point in matches and now we had some injuries, and it was needed for him to show up and deliver. This is what he did.
'To get a place in this team it is all about performance and this is what Callum shows at the moment and now it is important that he shows consistency and stays hungry and keeps on progressing.
'Enjoy the moment, but at the same time absolutely be aware of what it takes to stay in the team. It looks good at the moment.’