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Antonio Rudiger opens up on Timo Werner and Kai Havertz’s struggles at Chelsea



Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have so far struggled to live up to expectations at Chelsea

Antonio Rudiger has backed Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to come good at Chelsea and underlined how both players are experiencing their first spells outside of Germany and therefore need time to adjust to a new country and a new league.

Werner, 24, completed a £47.5million switch from Leipzig to Chelsea in the summer transfer window and started promisingly, scoring eight goals in his opening 12 games for the Blues under Frank Lampard.

But the Germany striker has looked desperately short of confidence since around mid-November and has found the net just once against Morecambe in his last 19 appearances in all competitions.

Antonio Rudiger opens up on Timo Werner and Kai Havertz’s struggles at Chelsea

It’s been a similar story with fellow countryman, Havertz, who became Chelsea’s second most-expensive signing after Kepa Arrizabalaga when he made a £62million move from Bayer Leverkusen to west London back in September.

Like Werner, Havertz has struggled with the transition from Bundesliga to Premier League football and both players will be desperate to turn their form around and show fellow countryman Thomas Tuchel they can be key players for Chelsea going forward.

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Rudiger, who helped lure both Werner and Havertz to Stamford Bridge, hopes Tuchel manages to get the best out of the attacking duo but believes it’s ultimately up to them to begin proving their doubters wrong.

‘Our relationship is good. I’ve known the guys for a long time, especially Timo. I already played with him in Stuttgart. But I already know Kai from the national team,’ the Chelsea defender told Sky Sport Germany.

‘They are very talented guys, maybe in a little slump right now, but if you saw Timo’s performance against Sheffield United, then he was very important to us.

Werner has scored just one goal in his last 19 appearances in a Chelsea shirt (Picture: Getty)

‘He makes a lot of runs and I think the goals will come.

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‘That applies to both of them. This is their first experience abroad, they have only been in Germany so far, have only ever been in a safe environment, as I would call it.

‘This is new territory for them and my job is to help them. I encourage them and I am just there for them. ‘But at the end of the day they have to do their own work on the field.’

Rudiger added: ‘It was a little easier for me as England wasn’t my first experience abroad. ‘My time in Italy helped me. It was maybe different from my game. ‘Everything in England was faster and physically even harder than in Italy and Germany in my opinion.

‘You have to adapt to that but that happened relatively quickly.’ On the role Tuchel has to play in reviving Werner and Havertz, Rudiger explained:

‘He will do everything in his power. ‘But at the end of the day the guys have to be there for themselves on the pitch.’

Tuchel remains unbeaten as Chelsea head coach (Picture: Getty)

Rudiger has been impressed with Tuchel’s unbeaten start and feels his compatriot’s clarity of thought and strong tactical approach have been reflected in Chelsea’s recent games.

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‘The most important impression he has left is: he knows what he wants,’ the centre-back added. ‘He has his way of playing football, which is positive for many players and it’s reflected in the latest results.

‘It’s been a very positive start for him.’ Rudiger looked set to leave Chelsea after being frozen out by Lampard

Rudiger was on the verge of leaving Chelsea after dropping down the pecking order under Lampard but has started all four of Tuchel’s opening matches in charge and is enjoying his football again.

‘At the end of the day you want to be on the pitch as a footballer,’ he continued.

‘As a footballer, you can’t be satisfied and you want more, you want to play so that’s been a real positive for me.

‘He [Tuchel] wanted to bring me to PSG in the summer but otherwise we had not spoken. ‘I’ve only ever played against him so we didn’t know each other before.’

Asked what had changed since Tuchel replaced Lampard, Rudiger replied:

‘I don’t even want to go there. ‘Every trainer is unique. From my point of view, I don’t want to make this comparison and I don’t think that’s appropriate.’


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