Timo Werner has been anything but a rousing success since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig last summer and the German forward admits his lack of goals may have played a part in Roman Abramovich’s decision to sack Frank Lampard.
Werner was hailed as the new focal point of Chelsea’s forward line when he signed a big-money deal to spearhead the Blues’ attack as part of Abramovich’s major investment into the club’s playing staff over the summer months.
So far though, the 35-times capped international has flattered to deceive up front, finding the net just five times in 24 Premier League appearances ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
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Werner has admitted that he has struggled to adapt to the pace and physicality of the infamously combative Premier League after an impressive campaign in the Bundesliga last season which saw him claim 28 goals in just 34 appearances.
And if he had been able to hit the ground running in West London, he says that things might just have been different for Frank Lampard – the club legend who was compelled to fall on his sword in response to a prolonged spell of poor form, and was subsequently replaced by Werner’s compatriot Thomas Tuchel.
“When you come here to play as a striker and be the man to score the goals, of course I felt a little bit guilty that I missed so many chances,” Werner told Sky Sports. “For the club, for the old manager but also for me because I want to score all the time and as much as I possibly can.
“Of course, if I’d scored four or five more goals maybe the old manager would still be here because we’d maybe have won two or three games more but you can’t look too much into the past because there are too many games ahead of us.”
Chelsea’s initial signs under Tuchel have been promising. The club remain undefeated under his tenure, even if the type of dazzling, free-flowing style of football craved by Abramovich has yet to bed in.
Installing the German into the Chelsea top job was thought to be – in part at least – designed to coax improved performances from Werner and the other megabucks summer investment from the Bundesliga, Kai Havertz.
And the signs, at least initially, are promising.
“I understood the old manager very well,” he said. “It was not because of the language, but when you can talk German to someone, there are things he can explain to me easier than the old manager could. It’s different when you talk to someone in your own language because one word is enough to make a sentence completely different.
“For me, that was the thing he changed. He knows me and his assistants know me from the Bundesliga. He gave me trust back and confidence back to be the Timo from the Bundesliga, to be back at the top and scoring goals.”
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Everyone associated with the club – even Lampard, the man who campaigned so vigorously to bring Werner to London – they will be hoping that Werner’s Premier League apprenticeship soon begins paying off.
And there is no better place to start than at home to Manchester United.