Thomas Tuchel remains optimistic about Chelsea fringe star Saul Niguez ahead of Zenit clash
Speaking ahead of the game against Zenit, as quoted by football.london, Thomas Tuchel revealed that he will not stop encouraging Chelsea ace Saul Niguez despite his poor form.
The Spaniard arrived at Stamford Bridge on a loan move on deadline day of the summer transfer window. There was a lot of hype around him, thanks to his stellar performances at Atletico Madrid.
However, he has not gelled into English football as comfortably as he thought he would have. His debut against Aston Villa was one to forget about, as was his second league start against Watford a week ago. But with the Blues facing a shortage of midfielders due to injury, Tuchel might have to rely on the 26-year-old in the coming games.
The German manager apparently has no problem in doing so as he revealed that he will not stop encouraging the midfielder.
“He’s (Saul) one of the guys that needs minutes. He is always in our thoughts, and we think about every training session and form. I think he struggled a bit with the intensity, and he’s a bit unlucky he played
against Aston Villa, Southampton and Watford, all three were high-intensity games, above average.
“We try to encourage him because he grows into Chelsea more and more. We will not stop trying to bring out the best. It is a high possibility he will improve tomorrow.”
Tuchel might not be all wrong about his analogy of the player. He has lacked minutes, and the games he has featured in have been high intensity. The Spanish international is somebody who does better in games where the Blues have possession of the ball.
Moreover, a lot also depends on his partner in the centre of the pitch. Jorginho has never played alongside him, while N’Golo Kante is also yet to complement him. The majority of his games have been with Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus Cheek, while he has made his first start alongside Kovacic.
Barring the Croat, the other two have more or less the same qualities as the Atletico loanee. This might also be why Tuchel adjusted his system in the second half against Watford and place Trevoh Chalobah in midfield to provide protection to Loftus Cheek.
Saul could flourish against a side like Zenit as they do not play as high up the pitch as some of the other teams the Spaniard has had to face this season. It could provide him with the confidence he has been so clearly lacking since his first appearance in September. However, it remains to be seen whether the gaffer affords him the opportunity to do so on Wednesday evening.