Kai Havertz responds to Thomas Tuchel plea but Chelsea boss has right to expect more


While Kai Havertz scored in two of his last three appearances for Chelsea, the forward still has some way to go before he will have satisfied manager Thomas Tuchel

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In pictures: Chelsea v Southampton

Goals have not come easily to Kai Havertz since his big-money move to Chelsea last year.

The German forward left his homeland and the club of his youth, Bayer Leverkusen, in September 2020 to join the Blues for £72million after a number of dazzling seasons in the Bundesliga.

Havertz flourished in a number of roles across the attack during his time with Leverkusen, lining up as a No.10, winger, false-nine and even as deep as central midfield on occasion.

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The 22-year-old’s versatility appeared to be one of his main strengths upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge, but it quickly became an issue.

Then-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard appeared unsure how to get the best out of Havertz, who scored just one goal in the first 22 appearances of his Premier League career.

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Kai Havertz scored against Southampton as Chelsea progressed to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals

The decision to appoint Thomas Tuchel as Lampard’s successor in January was partly motivated by kickstarting Havertz’s form, with Chelsea chiefs confident a fellow German held the key to unlocking the youngster’s vast potential.

There was some improvement, with Havertz scoring three goals in his last five top-flight appearances and, of course, the winner in last season’s Champions League final.

But Tuchel has also struggled to identify the right position for Havertz, who has been in and out of the starting XI during the current campaign.

A forward line crisis has made the manager’s decision for him over the last week, with Tuchel forced to deploy Havertz as a striker in the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

These injury blows came after the Blues boss issued a public plea for Havertz to bump up his goal involvement numbers ahead of the Champions League clash with Malmo.

“He lacks, as simple as that, the statistics of decisive things, of goals and assists and he needs to fight his way back into the team,” said Tuchel of Havertz.

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At the time, Havertz’s tally for the season was an underwhelming one goal, but he did net against Malmo the next day and was on the scoresheet again versus Southampton on Tuesday night.

In many ways his performance against the Saints summed up his Chelsea career so far; he scored a fine header to put the Blues ahead before squandering numerous gilt-edged chances to extend the lead or restore it after Che Adams pegged them back.

So, while Havertz has gone some way to living up to Tuchel’s demands, he is far from the finished article in west London.

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