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“He struggled”- Tuchel admits why deadline day signing was subbed off at half-time vs Villa

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Saul Niguez joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid in the summer transfer window.

Thomas Tuchel explains why Saul Niguez was subbed off vs Aston Villa in Chelsea debut

Speaking to Sky Sports (h/t Express) after the win against Aston Villa, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel revealed that Saul Niguez was substituted at half-time because he was struggling to adapt to the Premier League.

The Blues went into the break with a 1-0 win thanks to a brilliant Romelu Lukaku goal on his Stamford Bridge return. But the Spaniard, signed by the Blues on loan from Atletico Madrid, had a nightmare debut.

The Spaniard was constantly looking off the pace and his sloppiness led to a few chances for the visitors. Luckily for him, Chelsea’s defensive line, including Edouard Mendy, was there to save his blushes.

Saul Niguez of Chelsea in action against Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Saul Niguez of Chelsea in action against Aston Villa in the Premier League. (imago Images)

Nevertheless, the German manager decided to hook Saul before the start of the second half and brought on Jorginho to partner Mateo Kovacic in midfield. He then explained that the decision was taken because Saul wasn’t looking up to the mark.

Saul has a poor debut

“We could see Saul struggle to adapt to the intensity, instructions, style of play and intensity of the Premier League. It was hard to do, I had a feeling he struggled. He made some mistakes, passing mistakes and errors and struggled with the intensity.”

As you would expect from the former PSG and Borussia Dortmund manager, he was on hand to shoulder his share of the blame to play the 26-year-old midfielder prematurely and stated that it was a ‘very hard‘ decision to substitute him.

Saul Niguez made his Chelsea debut against Aston Villa.
Saul Niguez made his Chelsea debut against Aston Villa. (imago Images)

“You could see he was fully adapted. It’s completely my responsibility.”

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Saul has played enough games at the top level for Atletico and the Spain national team to not let this moment affect him too much- at least that’s what the Chelsea fans would be hoping. The Blues now gear themselves up to defend their European crown as they take on Zenit this week.

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