Thomas Tuchel calls Kai Havertz an ‘animal’: After Chelsea’s shock 4-1 loss to Brentford at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, Thomas Tuchel praised one player in particular.
Jose Mourinho was asked to characterize some of his former Chelsea players by using one word in 2019. It was “legend” for Didier Drogba. The Portuguese lauded John Terry as a “leader.” Meanwhile, Mourinho, who coached Michael Essien at both Stamford Bridge and Real Madrid, referred to him as a “son.”
There was also Diego Costa. During Mourinho’s third Premier League title triumph as Chelsea manager, the Brazilian-born striker led the charge. He growled angrily. He scuffled a bit. He had a goal.
That’s why, when asked to characterize Costa, who spent three seasons at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho said simply: “Animal.” It’s still a good description.
Chelsea has never had a striker like Costa before. They’re also unlikely to do so in the future. The Spain international was unpredictably feisty, with the ability to score a hat-trick or connect with a headbutt. It’s possible that they’re playing the same game. It’s one of the reasons why Blues fans admired him. He was a pantomime villain, to be sure, but he was their pantomime villain.
Costa is the only player in Thomas Tuchel’s squad who can compete with him. In terms of deception and aggression, Antonio Rudiger comes closest, but when compared to the Blues’ previous No.19’s weekly antics, the German center-back is a step or two down the ladder.
Kai Havertz, Chelsea’s current first-choice forward, does not possess the same devious ability. He has a lot more self-control and isn’t as quickly irritated.
Tuchel noted last year, “He is simply not the man who you would truly feel or see furious.” “Some people appear to feel compelled to compete with others in order to get traction. He isn’t a Diego Costa type, plain and simple, and I will never insist that he become one.”
However, Havertz isn’t totally unambiguous, and the 22-year-old has exhibited signs of hostility this season. For example, after being provoked by Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, he went head-to-head with him during the Carabao Cup final. Despite the fact that it was a tense encounter, it didn’t make Costa’s top twenty altercations.
Costa and Havertz do have a tenacious desire to bother and torment opposing defenders when they are not in control of the ball. When compared to Havertz, whose pressuring game was developed from an early age in the Bundesliga, the former executed it in a more wrecking-ball approach.
Havertz has surpassed Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner in the pecking order to become Chelsea’s number nine under Tuchel, owing to his willingness to strive to reclaim possession high up the pitch. And that was on show at Stamford Bridge over the weekend, despite the Blues’ 4-1 defeat to Brentford.
According to FBRef, no player attempted more pressures than Havertz (16), and no player produced more blocks as a consequence (4). He also led in successful dribbles (2) and aerial duels won (4), and was second in attempted shoots (to Rudiger, of all people) (4). The disappointment is that none of them made it to the other side of the net.