Olivier Giroud was left out of the crucial match of Chelsea against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. After scoring the all-important goal in the first leg, fans were expecting to see the Frenchman start once again however, Thomas Tuchel chose to go with Timo Werner as the main striker. Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech also made a rare start together although this was mostly due to the fact that Mason Mount and Jorginho were out due to suspension.
The 34-year-old striker played a brilliant match against the La Liga leaders in the first tie. It was a tough game and the Spanish giants did not want to give Chelsea any space whatsoever. The rojiblancos were happy to sit back and defend in numbers so as to avoid conceding a crucial away goal. Diego Simeone’s men put up a hard fight and their stubborn defense could only be broken down by a brilliant overhead kick by Giroud. Thus his lack of involvement in the second game seemed a bit strange.
Chelsea coach explains why Giroud did not play in four consecutive games.
Tuchel seemed a bit apologetic towards the striker at the end of the match and he explained why Giroud missed four consecutive games after the game against Manchester United. The German manager claimed that it was mostly his fault and he was ready to admit that the player should have been given a few minutes in those games. He told the reporters after the match,
He(Giroud) has suffered in the last four games a bit and I am not so happy with my decisions against Southampton and Leeds.”
“After the game, I had the feeling they were games that he should’ve had 20, 25 minutes to help us win rather than a draw. I didn’t give him these minutes because I have to adapt back to three changes, which is maybe two changes because the last one you don’t want to use too early.”
“So it’s clearly my fault. He is training well, had a decisive goal against Atletico, and I assumed the games against Everton and Liverpool would be high-intensity games where we could use speed more. That isn’t his biggest strength and there’s no problem with that.” – Source Goal
The manager went on to say that the French striker is immensely important for his side and that he will push the player to keep a positive attitude. The game against Sheffield United is next and Giroud will be hoping to feature in that game however, even if he does not feature in that game, the international break is around the corner and according to Tuchel, the break will help Giroud clear his mind.
Image Credit- Olivier Giroud Twitter