Saul Niguez breaks silence on Chelsea debut after Thomas Tuchel makes bold decision

By Bobby Vincent

Saul Niguez has admitted that his Chelsea debut was not the one he expected after being substituted at half-time against Aston Villa.

The Blues won 3-0 thanks to two goals from Romelu Lukaku and one from Mateo Kovacic, but it was far from the ideal debut for new signing Saul.

The Spain midfielder, who completed a season-long loan move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day at the end of last month, gifted possession to Villa on a few occasions and Thomas Tuchel made the bold call to replace him at half-time and bring on Jorginho.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday night, Saul broke his silence on his debut, admitting it was not the perfect situation for him.

Saul Niguez admitted he did not expect the debut he had with Chelsea (@saulniguez on Twitter)

He tweeted: "Wasn't the expected debut. Really happy with my first game & victory with the team.

"Incredible to see Stamford Bridge full of Blues."

Tuchel explained his decision to take Saul off at half-time in west London and placed all the responsibility on his own shoulders.

The Chelsea boss said to the press in the post-match press conference: "It was a hard decision. He was struggling and I take responsibility for that.

"I put him into a difficult match after the international break and it was hard for him to adapt to the physicality and, in general, I had the feeling he struggled with the intensity and pressing with Aston Villa.

Saul Niguez made his Chelsea debut on Saturday evening (Getty Images)

"It was also hard for him to adapt to our system and principles. So we thought, to give a bit more stability, we would change the shape to 5-3-2 in the second half with Jorginho.

"It was a tough one but he can accept that it is my responsibility and it's maybe also normal.

"In training, it looked like he had no problem to adapt but that's training.

"The game was very intense today because that is what Aston Villa made of it.

"The guy struggled a bit, there were some easy ball losses which is very, very unusual for him.

"That is why we decided before he lost more confidence that we make the change."

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn, who had the job of trying to restrict Saul from playing in the middle of the pitch on Saturday, spoke about the Spain international after the game.

"He’s a top player, he’s one I’ve watched for years in the Champions League and one I admire but sometimes, I had it as well my first few games in the Premier League, it does take time to get used to the tempo," McGinn said to Sky Sports.

"We were trying to steal the ball off him and it worked a couple of times they changed it at half-time and Jorginho calmed that down. So it shows the quality they have on the bench."


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