Thomas Tuchel dismisses criticisms of Chelsea's expensive fringe players

Jamie Spencer
Timo Werner is among expensive Chelsea fringe players set to start in the Carabao Cup
Timo Werner is among expensive Chelsea fringe players set to start in the Carabao Cup / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has played down the cost of the Blues’ ‘reserve’ team, with expensive fringe players expected to get a run out against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

Timo Werner, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech are among those expected to start the cup tie at Stamford Bridge, with that quartet alone costing around £200m. Others in the likely lineup have a combined value easily in excess of another £100m.

Read 90min’s predicted Chelsea lineup to face Aston Villa.

But Tuchel says the cost of the players involved is not important in the slightest.

“Who cares about the money? The money was paid and so what now?” he said when specifically asked about Arrizabalaga, who remains the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Werner arrived from RB Leipzig for just shy of £50m last summer and has scored only six Premier League goals. He is yet to score at all this season and has been relegated to a fringe role since the £97.5m arrival of Romelu Lukaku last month.

“We know that [Werner] can be much more dangerous and much more of an attacking threat than he was,” Tuchel is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.

“In the last training sessions he’s been more relaxed, more fluid in his movements, and showing more confidence. And that’s why we put him on early against Tottenham, because we saw this development and there are clear signs that he is on a good way. I hope he can show and prove it.

“Sometimes it needs a bit of time. Sometimes you don’t have this one particular reason why things look a bit easier, but Timo is in this moment. He can push himself and keep this momentum going.

“Everybody is happy if he can show his skills in front of goal. This is why he is here to be dangerous, to score goals and also to assist. And to create and open spaces with aggressive runs. This was a big step forward in the last game against Tottenham.”

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