Tuchel defends Saul after shaky Chelsea debut

Thomas Tuchel defended Saul Niguez after the new signing struggled on his Chelsea debut.

Tuchel’s side beat Aston Villa 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, where Romelu Lukaku scored twice.

But the Blues boss substituted Saul at half-time after the Spaniard had given the ball away a number of times and was generally poor against Villa’s hardworking midfield.

Tuchel insisted he had asked a lot of Saul and took responsibility for the decision to put him straight into the team.

“It was a hard decision (to take him off), but he struggled. I take the responsibility for that,” said Tuchel.

“I put him into a difficult match after the international break and it was hard to adapt to the physicality and the intensity and high pressing of Aston Villa. It was also a bit hard for him to adapt to our system.

“So we thought to give a bit more stability in the centre with Jorginho. It was a tough one, but I hope he (Saul) can accept that it’s my responsibility.

“Villa made it a very intense game and he struggled a bit and had some easy-ball losses, which is very unusual for him and that’s why I thought, before he loses more confidence, it may be better to take him off.”

Lukaku, on the other hand, enjoyed a fantastic evening.

His goals were his first at Stamford Bridge and mean he has scored three times in as many matches since returning to Chelsea for a second spell at the club.

“He adds something to the group that we did not have,” Tuchel said.