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'Werner is underrated' - Much-maligned Chelsea star plays 'pivotal' role in Tuchel's set-up, says Cole

13:50 BST 02/05/2021
Timo Werner, Chelsea, Premier League 2020-21
The former Blues defender has jumped to the defence of the German striker amid ongoing criticism of his lack of composure in front of goal

Timo Werner plays a "pivotal" role in Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea set-up despite his lack of goals, according to Ashley Cole, who feels the striker is "underrated".

Werner completed a £47 million ($65m) move to Chelsea from RB Leipzig last summer, having established himself as one of the most prolific forwards in Europe during his time at Red Bull Arena.

The 25-year-old has been unable to live up to the same high standards during his first year at Stamford Bridge and has been criticised for his lack of composure in the final third, but Cole thinks his overall contribution to the Blues' cause is being overlooked.

What's been said?

"I really think he's underrated. Yes he's missed some big chances and opportunities," the former Chelsea defender told Sky Sports.

"As a coach, as a manager, you always look to say 'is he in the right spots, is he in the right positions to strike and convert them?'

"But I think the way [Thomas] Tuchel sets up and the way he wants them to play through the lines, combined with the diagonal passes, he's pivotal in that role, running into the space and running into areas where Mason [Mount] can pick the ball up."

Werner's Chelsea record

Werner failed to get on the scoresheet once again during Chelsea's derby victory over Fulham, but did set up Kai Havertz to score his second goal of the game with a sublime pass early in the second half.

The Germany international now has 13 assists to his name from 46 outings across all competitions for the Blues, but has only scored 13 himself, including just six in the Premier League.

The bigger picture

Werner has continued to enjoy a prominent role in the Chelsea starting XI since Tuchel's arrival as head coach in January in spite of his struggles in front of goal, with the club likely to remain patient with the man that they handed a five-year contract last June.

Tuchel admitted that Werner's finishing is letting him down following his team's 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals last week, but also insisted that he has the mentality to bounce back.

The German tactician also highlighted the fact that his compatriot's movement helps to create regular chances for the Blues, as he told reporters: "He is a professional guy, a top guy, he works hard. He is in positions and from there on we go.

"We will never stop pushing, we will never stop believing and I have the feeling that everybody accepts the situation like it is and as a striker it is easy, you score the next game and nobody speaks about it."

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