June 19, 2021

Hasselbaink urges Lampard to play Werner as Chelsea’s central striker but says Blues can’t win title

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A former Blues striker has heaped praise upon a man who has just started to deliver on his potential after a summer move to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes Timo Werner is at his best when he’s played in a central striker role but doesn’t feel his goals will be enough to lead a defensively-suspect Blues to the title.

Werner completed a £47.5 million ($62m) move to Chelsea from RB Leipzig in June after another outstanding individual season in the Bundesliga.

The Germany international scored 95 goals in 159 outings for Julian Nagelsmann’s side in total, earning attention from a number of top clubs in the process, including Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

However, Frank Lampard managed to convince Werner that Stamford Bridge was the best place for him to continue his development, and he subsequently committed to the Blues through to 2025.

The 24-year-old has started slowly in the Premier League, drawing blanks in his first four outings, but he finally managed to get off the mark during a 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

Werner scored a superb individual goal to open the scoring before doubling his account with a well-taken finish just before the hour mark and will be expected to continue delivering the goods in the final third as the season progresses.

Hasselbaink has been impressed with what he’s seen from the ex-Leipzig star so far, but would like to see Lampard deploy him in a central role all the time, rather than wide on the left.

“Yes, he is very sharp,” the former Chelsea forward told Sky Sports:  “He just turns the defender so easy and there is only one thing on his mind and that’s to get the shot off.

“He is not somebody who likes to play with his back to goal. He likes to see the goal and make his run always on the shoulder of the centre-halves.

“He just knows where the back of the net is. I like him when he plays through the middle but not when he plays on the left.

“He does drift and then come back but yeah, a top striker. His runs are limited because he can only come from the left and cut back into the right-sided centre-half, he is more restricted and he likes to be free.

“He likes to take his time and get the ball down. He is never with his back to goal. I didn’t like to do it, I wasn’t good enough like a (Johan) Cruyff or (Marco) van Basten or whatever.

“He is, in a way, the same. He knows his strength and he wants to make runs at the centre-half.

“For me, what I have seen of him, also in Germany, he is the real deal and he doesn’t care how they go in, he just wants goals.”

The Dutchman does not, however, think Werner can fire Chelsea to Premier League glory in 2020-21, with it his belief that his old club are far too vulnerable at the back to sustain a title challenge.

“No, Chelsea are not contenders [for the title],” said Hasselbaink. “They are leaking too many goals. It is a breath of fresh air to see them going forward with the likes of Mason Mount and Werner.

“But the defence is a worry, if they cannot improve the centre-backs and goalkeeper it is a concern.

“Alisson wins Liverpool points, but that doesn’t happen with Kepa. Chelsea need to improve in that area.”