There was a moment in yesterday’s game when it looked like Timo Werner was about to do it. He was about to score a Premier League goal for the first time in three months, 12 appearances (9 starts), and over 720 minutes (12 hours).
In came the ball from the effervescent Callum Hudson-Odoi. Timo took a step, swung a leg, looking to side-foot it past the helpless goalkeeper like he’s probably done thousands, maybe tens of thousands of times. But instead of hitting the back of the net, the ball hit his standing leg and bounced away.
Such is life when things just aren’t going your way.
It was the 10th anniversary of Fernando Torres’ signing, after all.
New boss Thomas Tuchel, who’s made it one of his main goals to get Werner firing again, was a fair bit less cynical in his post-match assessment.
“He is totally into it, he gives everything. [And] as long as he has the impact, works like he worded today, we will support him. We missed some chances to use him in counter attacks which is his big strength, he has pure speed. We need to improve to bring him into situations to be decisive for us.”
Werner’s impact against a mostly deep-lying Burnley certainly shouldn’t be ignored, especially as he’s often seen purely as a counter-attacking threat who needs space to operate. But as he’s done throughout the scoring slump, he has not shied away from the ball, and was able to get involved as well as any of our central forwards — his 39 touches were actually a bit more even than Tammy Abraham (9) and Christian Pulisic (26), who had split time in attack next to him, combined.
However, to change the narrative and to change the focus, he does need a goal, or many. As Tuchel sees it, that’s just a small step away. Of course, sometimes those last small steps are the hardest.
“You can see, like every striker in the world, they guys are sensitive and nothing helps better than goals. If they miss the goals for a certain time then it isn’t the same for them, it is not special to Timo, it happens with every striker in the world.
“He was confident to play but that is something you cannot demand, you either have it or you don’t. But it is no problem, maybe he just needs to find an easy goal to bring out the last percent.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Like Lampard, Tuchel’s looking to fix the mental aspect first and foremost, while also looking for a tactical solution. Let’s hope we can figure out this last per cent soon.