Thomas Tuchel defends Saúl Niguez ahead of handing midfielder his second Chelsea start

Thomas Tuchel has defended Saúl Niguez for his slow start to life at Stamford Bridge.

Saúl joined Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan late in the January transfer window, but he has rarely featured.

The Spain international has made just two Premier League appearances, starting once, and his efforts to break into Tuchel’s starting XI are not going well.

Tuchel even had to deny claims Chelsea signed Saúl as a favour during his latest press conference.

But the German boss also went on to explain why it has been tough for Saúl so far in the Premier League.

He said, as cited by football.london: “I think every single player needs his time to adapt and Saul needed his time.

“He competes with a lot of high-quality players in midfield. We needed to understand him a bit better, not in terms of language, but in terms what is his real strength, the detail of the player, what can he add to the squad, where is his maybe unique quality and it was not easy.

“I guess it’s the first time he plays for another club than Atletico – he comes from the academy there – and we have to accept the style of the game is so different from Spain to here.

“It teaches us a lesson that everybody needs individual time to adapt and since many days he is stronger, I feel him a bit more relaxed and at the same time that gives him a little bit more freedom to impose his quality.

“He’s very strong in finishing, in arriving in the box. In the moment, where we have injured players in the midfield, even Jorgi doubtful for tomorrow, it’s the moment for him to be ready.

“I have the feeling since many days that he is ready and can show what he wants to show.”

Interestingly, Saúl has since been selected for Chelsea to start this evening as they take on Watford in the Premier League.

It will be a huge opportunity for the Spaniard to show what he can do in the absence of Jorginho.

Tags Atletico Madrid Chelsea Saul Niguez Thomas Tuchel