Thomas Tuchel insists Saul Niguez’s dismal debut was ‘completely my responsibility’

Thomas Tuchel shouldered the blame as Saul Niguez suffered the ignominy of being replaced at half-time on his Chelsea debut.

‘It was a hard decision but I had the feeling he struggled,’ said Tuchel. ‘There were some big mistakes, passing mistakes, easy ball losses which is very unusual for him. He struggled with the intensity. You could see he isn’t fully adapted.

‘Hopefully he can accept it was completely my responsibility. I had the feeling he could jump in and play at that level.


Saul Niguez made his Chelsea debut on Saturday evening in the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa 

Thomas Tuchel substituted the star at half-time after a difficult first-half for the Spaniard 


‘I put him into a very difficult match after the international break and it was hard to adapt the physicality in general, and to the intensity and high pressing of Aston Villa. Also it was hard for him to adapt to our system and principles.

‘I thought it was maybe better to change him and to give us more stability in the centre and switch the shape.’

Tuchel’s tough call helped Chelsea complete a 3-0 victory against Aston Villa. Romelu Lukaku gave them the lead in the first half and added a second in stoppage time.

Mateo Kovacic scored the second but the European champions were not at their best and Aston Villa were left to rue their missed chances.

Saul will need more time to settle as he adjust to the Premier League after his LaLiga stint 

‘They caused us a lot of problems, particularly in the first-half,’ said Tuchel. ‘They’re dangerous from throw-ins, set-pieces and corners and gave us many situations you have to defend. That’s not our favourite discipline but we did what we had to do. the second half was better.’

Villa boss Dean Smith said: ‘I’m frustrated with the scoreline. I felt 3-0 was unjust but we didn’t take our moments today. The second goal was a big mistake, and took the wind from our sails but we can take whole lot of positives.

‘We created some really good chances. Our centre halves were on the front foot. We wanted to take the fight to Chelsea and if we had taken our moments it might’ve been a different story.’