Thomas Tuchel previews Chelsea's clash with West Ham
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has risked angering Saul Niguez by hinting he could go against his wishes by playing him out of position. The Spaniard joined Chelsea on a season-long loan deal from Atletico Madrid in the summer but has been a huge disappointment so far.
Saul has been used sparingly by Tuchel this season and has made just 10 appearances all term.
The 27-year-old is really struggling for form and suffered the ignominy of being substituted at half-time during the Blues’ victory over Watford midweek.
That was the second time this season the midfielder was hooked off at the interval, having suffered the same fate on his debut back in September.
Tuchel admitted after the 2-1 win at Vicarage Road that he ‘didn’t know where Saul could go from here’ after another underwhelming performance.
Saul’s displays have been so poor this season that it has led to reports claiming he was only signed to ‘satisfy his representatives’ and could have his loan deal cut short in January.
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However, Tuchel has suggested he could have a new plan to get the best out of Saul, although his idea could come at the risk of angering the player.
Saul wanted to leave Atletico so he could play in his preferred central midfield position after Diego Simeone used him as a utility man, mainly deploying him at full-back.
Despite this, Tuchel has admitted he may opt to play him in a different position for Saturday’s clash with West Ham.
Speaking about Sual at his press conference on Friday, he said: “I think he can play as a winger. Maybe in the next matches we will try it and not charge all the games to Marcos Alonso.”
Despite his poor performances, the Chelsea boss has insisted that Saul has still got a role to play this season as he clarified his decision to take him off at half-time earlier this week.
He added: “Saul is still adapting. He had a yellow card and was a bit shy to go in with everything in all the duels.
“He did not want to risk to avoid a red card. He is very good reaching the area, finishing and temporising. Also in the second balls. He can fit in well.
“In the next games we will test if Chilwell is out for a long time.”
Chelsea have the option to sign Saul permanently at the end of the season for a fee in the region of £30m, but that looks highly unlikely at present.
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