Thomas Tuchel has advised Saul Niguez “not to worry” despite the fact that he has only played 45 minutes of Premier League football for Chelsea. In order to safeguard the midfielder, Thomas Tuchel chose not to play Saul Niguez against Southampton. Niguez is still paying the price for a rocky debut.
Since signing on a loan from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day Saul struggled in his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea, playing only 45 minutes against Aston Villa before being substituted. In the Blues’ 3-0 triumph, the Spain international gave up possession 10 times, missed seven of his 38 passes, and committed a team-high three fouls.
Tuchel remarked at the time that after spent his whole senior career in Spain, the 26-year-old would need time to adjust to the intensity of the English game. Saul didn’t play a game since last month’s EFL Cup penalty shoot-out victory over the same opponents when he played 76 minutes. After the 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel stated that he did not feel it was the right time to play Saul against an active Southampton side.
“He was very, very close to starting,” Tuchel said according to the Evening Standard. “But in the end, I decided against it. I thought to put him in another high pressing match, against an opponent pressing so high in the centre of the pitch, would it be fair to say, ‘Okay now prove it and let’s see if your adaption has gone further?’”
“I hesitated a little bit. He does not need to worry. Just work hard and adapt and the chances will come. We have only 11 to give a chance. I would like to see it in a positive way. If you turn it around of course you have eight players who we didn’t trust today from the beginning. This is a reality. I cannot hide from this reality.”