Tuchel targets Chelsea success through wing-backs Chilwell and James | Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel believes Reece James and Ben Chilwell becoming more accomplished as attacking wing-backs has played a key role in Chelsea’s rise to the top of the league.

The England full-backs were both on the scoresheet in Chelsea’s 7-0 win over Norwich last weekend and Tuchel is pleased with how they have adjusted to their roles in his 3-4-2-1 system. Chilwell has scored three goals at club level since replacing Marcos Alonso on the left last month and James, who can also play on the right of a back three, has charged down the right to score twice this season.

“It’s a very important position in the system we play,” Tuchel said. “A very important part of the position is to arrive in the box and to create a goal threat. Not to just be the ball-possession guy on the side and to be responsible for ball control. This is what we want and what we demand. I’m happy that Chilly is growing into his full potential and pushing the limits constantly because it fits, in my opinion, pretty perfectly in his player profile.

“For Reecey, you see sometimes he plays in the back line of three. I would not do this with Chilly. In terms of character, he’s not a guy who can play in the back three. He takes by character a little more risk, he feels a little more free to arrive in offensive positions. For Reecey, we have to encourage him to trust himself to arrive in the box and be dangerous because he can be a real threat positionally but also technically. The finishing, against Arsenal and now against Norwich, the technical ability was brilliant.”

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Tuchel, whose side face Newcastle on Saturday, feels there is more to come from Chilwell and James. “They need to feel into it, understand the game and the responsibility of when they have to arrive and maybe provide protection around the box,” Chelsea’s manager said. “The more they understand it, the more natural it comes; the less they think about it, the better it gets.”

Tuchel said Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner would not be back from respective ankle and hamstring injuries until after the international break. Christian Pulisic should return from his ankle injury against Burnley next week but Mateo Kovacic could be out for a month after injuring a hamstring in training.

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