Kovacic explains why Tuchel had to take off midfield partner Saul Niguez

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It wasn’t an easy debut game for Chelsea new boy Saul Niguez, as Thomas Tuchel thrust the signing from Atletico Madrid straight into the starting team to face Aston Villa.

It was a horrible performance from the Spaniard who kept giving the ball away and looked short of confidence in the middle of the park. Saul struggled with the intensity of the game as he adjusts to life in the Premier League.

Saul was placed beside Mateo Kovacic, but the pair didn’t seem to understand each other positionally, and Saul had to be taken off at half-time with Jorginho coming in his stead.

The change worked out fine as Tuchel’s side side dominated the game in the second half.

Speaking about the difficult first half which led to the substitution of Saul, Kovacic said:

“It was a difficult game, especially in the first half. Aston Villa came out quite aggressive and it was difficult to come out playing, to do our game.

“The manager changed it at half-time because he saw that we struggled to come out playing like we usually do. We changed our style of play a little and we played a little bit of long balls to Romelu, so we adapted quite well.

“It was a difficult game but in the end we managed to win a difficult game 3-0 which says a lot about our squad.”

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