The MANAGER Thomas Tuchel has revealed Saints walked into a Chelsea trap, saying “we expected” the high-press and it was “set out for Timo Werner to deliver”
His Blues side put six past Saints with no reply at St Mary’s, after suffering back-to-back heavy defeats of their own in the week building up.
Fellow London outfit Brentford hammered the European champions 4-1 at Stamford Bridge last weekend, while their Champions League run hangs by a thread after a 3-1 home loss to Real Madrid midweek.
Saints felt the brunt of the reaction that a furious Tuchel demanded, after he speculated they would “lose in Southampton” if they did not improve.
His gameplan worked to perfection, revealing: “We expected a 4-4-2 and both number sixes to press high.
“So we wanted to pin the defenders with two strikers and find Mason (Mount) in a bit of an open position between the lines.
“We had a bit of a different role for the wing-backs because we anticipated an aggressive 4-4-2 and wanted to have three midfielders against their two midfielders and have an ideal position for Kai (Havertz) and Timo (Werner).
“That was the idea behind it but, of course, it’s not about the idea. It’s about how we played, how committed we played, and with what quality we played.
“It was a different mindset. A different attitude. And it was then followed by all the quality.”
Werner, who played under Ralph Hasenhuttl at Red Bull Leipzig, netted a brace but could have had five against the hapless back line.
He hit the woodwork on two occasions inside seven minutes, while Fraser Forster also denied him from point-blank range with an excellent stop.
“Timo was playing in his favourite position, and he loves to play with Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic,” said Tuchel.
“He has a connection to these players. He loves the double striker position, the half left position.
“It was an opponent where we could imagine we’d find spaces in behind because it was a higher attacking opponent. Everything was set out for him to deliver, honestly.
“It was for him to show that he’s still an important player for this group and that’s exactly what he did. It was necessary, strong but necessary.”
Tuchel added: “It was a very good performance offensive-wise but also defensive-wise.
“It’s not only a possession game against Southampton, it’s about winning the duels, accepting the physicality.
“There was a good mix in all areas of the pitch, in mentality and commitment. It was very, very good.