The German gave arguably his best performance for Chelsea in the victory over Everton after a tactical change from Tuchel.
Kai Havertz was pleased to play as a false nine in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Everton, insisting the role grants him the ‘freedom’ he needs to exploit his talents.
One of the main talking points of Chelsea’s season has been Havertz’s struggles. The 21-year-old, who arrived from Bayer Leverkusen in September for an €80m fee, hasn’t been able to replicate his performances in Germany. He played in a variety of roles under former manager Frank Lampard, but to no avail.
But in his first start under new Blues boss Thomas Tuchel on Tuesday night, Havertz played centrally as a false nine between forwards Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Kai Havertz last season as a striker/false nine:
An excellent finisher, with brilliant movement. Would like to see him as a 9 at Chelsea at some point this season. pic.twitter.com/FpRmEU2DQv
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) March 1, 2021
It’s a position he impressed in during his final outings for Leverkusen last season, and it appears Tuchel believes it could be the key to unlocking his potential.
“I played like a false nine, I had the freedom to go everywhere I wanted to go, and I think that’s good for me,” Havertz told the club’s website.
“I like to have freedom on the pitch. I’m very happy with the performance, not only from me but the whole group. I think we can do a lot better than today, but the result was a win, so of course we’re very happy with it.”
Havertz repaid Tuchel for his faith by delivering an excellent display against Everton. The German was unlucky to have his first-half goal deemed as an own goal from Ben Godfrey instead. But he didn’t let it get to him and later won the penalty which Jorginho converted.
Kai Havertz's game by numbers vs. Everton:
100% take-ons completed
5 touches in opp. box (most)
5 duels won
2 aerial duels won
2 take-ons completed
1 penalty won
Looked lively as the false nine. 👌 pic.twitter.com/MQwd2UR9rK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 8, 2021
The most eye-catching fact, though, was how the forward troubled Everton throughout the match after returning from injury.
‘It was good for me and I gave my best,” continued Havertz.
“The first seven months were not easy for me, but you have to keep working and I did that. So I’m very happy, but of course it was my first match after injury. I think it was a good performance from me, but you cannot say this after one performance.
‘You have to be strong in the next few matches as well and that’s my goal. I will try to improve, I will try to give my best in the next few weeks and then I hope it will continue like that.”