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Chelsea’s Tuchel defends Werner amid ‘annoying’ criticism after open goal miss for Germany

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has passionately defended striker Timo Werner after he was criticised for missing an open goal in Germany’s shock World Cup qualifying defeat against Macedonia.

After Germany equalised, Werner had a glorious chance to put them ahead but scuffed his shot in front of goal before Macedonia went on to secure a surprising victory.

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Germany boss Joachim Low was unhappy with Werner’s missed chance but Tuchel supported his player and said he is confident the striker will score goals soon.

“He missed that chance and everybody is passionate to talk about it which is a bit annoying,” Tuchel told a news conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against West Brom on Saturday. “The truth is he didn’t start three times for Germany so maybe if he has more minutes, maybe they would’ve scored more.

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“It’s an easy solution at the moment to point the finger at Timo, which I cannot fully understand and I will not accept. I am happy he is back because here he is protected. The main thing is to look at the situation honestly and he is in a moment where he lacks confidence and things aren’t too easy. The goals are not working out as usual but he works out for us.

“He still scores for us, still assists for us, still wins penalties. If this is the most critical point of his career you can say it’s still pretty impressive so far. This guy has scored since he was five years old and he never stopped. So he can trust his brain and body, it will come back. That’s much easier said than done.

“Yesterday I sent him in from training because he wanted to do some finishing with us, but I sent him in because I said you don’t need that, your body and brain knows how to score.

“If a woman doesn’t want to go out with you to dinner, you cannot force her. You just step back a bit and maybe she will call you.

“Of course, he needs to do something and the best thing to do is to work hard. Work hard against the ball, do your runs, don’t hesitate, be fearless and don’t overthink it. That’s easy for me to say but it’s the challenge right now. Timo will start tomorrow and there we go.”

Werner has only scored five Premier League goals for the club this season and has not found the back of the net since Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Newcastle United in February.

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Tuchel also refused to comment on whether Chelsea would be interested in signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund this summer after the striker held talks with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“I will not answer that out of respect for the player and Borussia Dortmund,” he added. There is big news around him and his agent.

“It seems like they are creating a race for the player and I will fully accept this a player for Borussia Dortmund, a promising player of course. But he isn’t our player and is not in our squad. So we will not comment on anything else regarding Haaland.”

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