Havertz compared to Van Persie after Chelsea clinch Dortmund win

Potter hails Chelsea's character after beating Dortmund

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Thierry Henry has compared Chelsea star Kai Havertz to Premier League icon Robin van Persie after the German fired the Blues into the Champions League quarter-finals. Havertz produced one of his best performances for the west Londoners and struck the decisive penalty in the club’s 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. 

The Blues came from a goal down on aggregate to secure the most impressive victory of Graham Potter’s reign. And Havertz was key to their success.

It was the 23-year-old’s spot-kick – controversially retaken following encroachment after his initial effort hit the post – that put Chelsea into the final eight. Arsenal icon Henry revealed after the game that he sees some similarities with former Gunners team-mate Van Persie. 

However, the Frenchman has urged Havertz to score more goals. “I thought he was good on the first goal [by Raheem Sterling]. You could see he held the ball ever so well,” Henry told CBS Sports. 

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“It reminds sometimes a little, very little, of a Robin – the way he can hold the ball. Robin van Persie was very good with his left foot. The touch was always immaculate to drive, to bring people along.

“This is why I think out of the guy that used to be wingers or a No 10, he plays as a No 9 because back to goal, he can hold the ball well. Now he needs to make sure he can transform that into more goals, because you can play off him.”

Havertz still has a long way to go before reaching Van Persie’s level. The Dutchman struck 144 Premier League goals in 244 games for Arsenal and Manchester United. 

But the Chelsea attacker impressed in the Champions League and will hope to replicate that form in domestic competitions. Havertz – whose goal won the 2021 final – kept his cool after missing his initial penalty, stroking his effort into the corner of the net. 

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“I don’t know what I was thinking but the referee let me retake the penalty,” he reflected on referee Danny Makkelie’s decision to award a retake. “I was a bit nervous but I scored. I tried to wait and look at the keeper and the second one was a bit easier.”

Havertz added: “The last two weeks were hard, we lost a lot of games. Tonight was important. This is a big tournament and it’s the last trophy that we can win. We showed character and that we want to keep going.”

Chelsea will learn their Champions League quarter-final opponents in Friday’s draw and could face English opposition in the next round. 

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