Thomas Tuchel makes honest Saul Niguez statement amid disappointing Chelsea debut

By Daniel Orme

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has accepted responsibility for Saul Niguez’s disappointing debut for the Blues against Aston Villa.

Despite arriving from Atletico Madrid on loan on deadline day, the Spaniard was surprisingly thrust into the starting line-up as the Blues secured a 3-0 victory against their visitors.

It wasn’t so much of a positive day for Saul, though, as he struggled throughout the first half and was eventually hauled off by Tuchel at half-time to be replaced by Jorginho.

Tuchel has ensured that no blame lies at the midfielder’s door, however, having slightly miscalculated how ready Saul was for immediate Premier League action.

Talking after the game, the German said: “It was a hard decision but I had the feeling he struggled. There were some big mistakes, passing mistakes, easy ball losses which is very unusual for him. He struggled with the intensity. You could see he isn't fully adapted.

“Hopefully he can accept it was completely my responsibility. I had the feeling he could jump in and play at that level.

“I put him into a very difficult match after the international break and it was hard to adapt the physicality in general, and to the intensity and high pressing of Aston Villa. Also it was hard for him to adapt to our system and principles.

“I thought it was maybe better to change him and to give us more stability in the centre and switch the shape.”

Following the substitution, Chelsea were able to round off the victory as Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic struck in the second half.

Saul will certainly hope that he receives another chance to impress sooner rather than later, as the Blues prepare to take on Zenit St Petersburg in the first match of their Champions League defence.


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