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Havertz wants to repay Tuchel backing and learn from Sterling at Chelsea
Havertz wants to repay Tuchel backing

In the absence of Romelu Lukaku, Kai Havertz expects to earn Thomas Tuchel’s faith at Chelsea, and the German international is eager to pick Raheem Sterling’s brain.

When Lukaku wasn’t available or was injured, Tuchel previously deployed Havertz as a false nine to lead the Blues line. However, Lukaku only scored eight goals in 29 Premier League games last season.

Havertz will probably be given the responsibility of playing up top once more as Lukaku has returned to Inter on loan, Tuchel has ruled out a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski has joined Barcelona.

Though the former Bayer Leverkusen star acknowledged he did not expect the positional switch, Havertz is aiming to make the role his own and give Tuchel reason to have faith in him.

“I’ve played a lot of positions over the years but last season I played a lot as a number nine and it’s a position I like very much,” he told reporters.

“If I look back four years ago, I could never have imagined playing there. But the last two years I’ve played it more often and I like the position.

“It’s still good that I am flexible and can play different positions up front, but I am there to score goals and make assists and as a number nine you have to do that and link up with players.

“In football, consistency is a very big word; we play every three days and need to maintain a good standard at all times. I must also play consistently in every game and try to score as many goals as I can.

“Occasionally, dropping a level for one game is expected. It’s not always possible to win games with five goals. For me, being consistent is important, therefore I make an effort to improve.

“I need the coach’s faith and I need that confidence from him. sometimes at difficult moments as well. In the past few years, he has consistently placed that trust in me.

“It is always good for a striker, and me as well, [to know that]. I’m still young. If you are playing and on the pitch, you always have to take the responsibility.

“This season, I will undoubtedly make an effort to play as frequently as possible. Hopefully, it will be an improvement over last year.”

Havertz can take counsel from Sterling, who arrived from Manchester City on a five-year agreement last week, if he wants to enhance his goal-scoring skills and finishing.

Sterling has scored 27 Premier League goals from inside the six-yard box since Pep Guardiola took over as City coach in 2016, five more than any other player (Harry Kane, 22).

Under Guardiola, the England international averaged nearly one goal every other match (one every 179 minutes) in the Premier League, and only five players have scored more goals overall since the 2016–17 season’s opening weekend.

“We all know that he is a great player,” Havertz said of Sterling. “I saw a stat about him that he has had the most goals and assists for Man City in the last five years or something like that. That tells the whole story of him.

“He was a great player for City and the national team as well, hopefully, he can keep up his level here. For me and of course, for everyone, he is going to help.

“I think in every game you can see that. I know the game against England at the Euros, he played well. You can see his quality here already and it’s been just a few days.

“You can see in training how good he is, how fast he is. He is definitely going to help us.”

Kalidou Koulibaly has also joined Chelsea as the second signing of the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital era at Stamford Bridge, and Havertz is delighted to have new ownership after a turbulent last season.

“It was a crazy time for all of us,” Havertz said, referencing former owner Roman Abramovich’s sanctions. “There were then a lot of changes in the club which was strange for all of us, but we came through it.

“I think it helps that in the team we all get to know each other and also in different or difficult situations that everyone is together so I think it helped us as well.

“I think we are a special group. We see that in the changing room away from the pitch and on the pitch. We have a lot of young players who are maybe the same age.

“We have a lot of experienced players and I think we all fit together very well. You see it off the pitch that it is hopefully going to be a special year for us.”

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