Thomas Tuchel explains Timo Werner criticism and why he has to be direct with Chelsea’s stars
Thomas Tuchel admits he doesn’t always deliver instructions to his Chelsea players in, “the most friendly or nice way” during games but believes nobody within his squad takes things personally.
During the Blues’ victory over Everton on Monday night, Tuchel was caught during the first half of the game calling out Timo Werner in their native German for being out of position. He said: “Timo, how much longer do you play on the left? You play right. You’ve played left for 15 minutes. Do you not understand?”
By his own admission, Tuchel is an emotional figure on the touchline. Throughout games, especially with stadiums empty due to Covid-19 restrictions, he can be heard remonstrating with refereeing decisions, barking out orders to his players, but also encouraging them throughout the 90 minutes.
The 47-year-old accepts that sometimes his comments can be rather blunt. However, he says that is natural given he and the players are in “game mode”.
“Without spectators, it [the video of his comments to Werner] can happen, that things like this get out there,” he said.
“We reminded Timo to regain his position on the right because he was on the left too long. Switching positions is not a problem but we wanted Callum (Hudson-Odoi) on the left and Timo on the right side in this game to make things easier.
“We reminded him but it was not an insult or aggressive. It was direct. I understand what you mean but in the end, if it is respectful and not insulting each other [it is fine].
“I have no problem with the players being direct to me and sometimes on the sideline, the coaches are in game mode so things are direct and meant to be clear.
“Sometimes things are not pronounced in the most friendly or nice way. I agree. But the players are I are in game mode. I have the feeling that no one takes it too personally. It is about passing information, this is it.”
Throughout every one of his pre-match press conferences since taking charge at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel has appeared completely at ease.
He has given confident and erudite responses to the majority of the questions posed and has never shied away from discussing sensitive issues in his second language.
But within the pressure-cooker environment of a game, he knows he is very different.
“Pretty much the minute after the whistle [I switch],” the German said yesterday ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Leeds United.
“In terms of my emotions on the sideline, you should have seen me ten years ago, it was double and triple [compared to now]. I was totally sucked into the match, sweating all over, attacking the fourth official and the referees all the time. When I was on the bench, no one was safe.
“I’ve calmed down a lot, which was always necessary because it is not always right to express your feelings right away all the time. It is always a mix, it is easier to stay calm now but sometimes I can be attached more.
“It is me when I am in game mode, I want to push the players to their maximum to see them perform like they do in training.
“Sometimes you see me on the sidelines or sitting, reflecting and discussing with my coaches, but I am a pretty emotional guy. When the game is going on then I feel like part of it.
“I am still developing in that way and in the end it is not about me but about the players. It is not about how I feel but about helping the players. This is what I demand from myself.”