By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Not all of Timo Werner's expectations have come to fruition. After choosing an apartment in central London, the 24-year-old and his girlfriend hoped to be able to welcome guests from Germany.
Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 "have forced us to stay alone most of the time," the Chelsea striker admitted. Things haven't been as easy as expected. "The only good thing about it is that we have much less traffic on the streets," Werner said with a smile.
His daily drive to the Blues training center has reduced to about 30 minutes.
His problems on the pitch have increased the disappointment as he failed to score for 1000 minutes after a good start with eight goals in 12 games.
Things seem to have changed for the German international since countryman Thomas Tuchel took over as head coach from club icon Frank Lampard.
The Blues not only changed their style to a more dynamic and riskier one. Werner moved from the wing more to the center behind spearhead Olivier Giroud and feels more comfortable as he is familiar with the job from his time in Leipzig.
"You come to a new country and are always worried about being misunderstood as you have to learn a new language," he said. "You desperately want to pay back from the first minute on."
Considering his demand to perform perfectly on the pitch made him feel additional pressure. "I might have been dogged too much. It helped me to get off that. I tried to concentrate on benefitting the team by providing assists and go on runs as much as possible."
With the tactical changes under Tuchel, Werner now has newfound happiness.
"I have developed as a person and a footballer. Having to take a close look at the circumstances made me grow up. It wasn't the former coach; it was me who was to blame," he said.
Werner seems to have adopted many of Tuchel's ideas as a fast-attacking football is vital if you are to get into space.
He feels the intensity is much higher in Premier League than in the Bundesliga. "If you meet a bottom team, they always come with a solid defense made up of strongly-built 1.90-meter defenders," he stated.
The new position provides more options as the German international can move to both sides if needed. This in turn provides more space for his runs.
"I had to adjust to the English way of play and much more use my body to assert myself."
Werner is now hoping to deliver the goods on the pitch. "We have improved as a team, and if we keep on following the same path, we can achieve something this season."
He learned to get along with difficult situations better. "I don't panic right away but take things as they come and try to make little steps."
Werner said he had to learn to cope with the situation where he was no longer the only star player, like at his former club, Leipzig. "I quickly became aware I have to increase my efforts and raise my game to a new level. Looking at it now, I can say it's great to experience that as it makes you improve," he said.
The German forward is hoping for further improvements, such as the return of fans. There is nothing like scoring in front of the supporters for him as a footballer as he can share his emotions with the fans.
The Blues' team is full of determination to continue its upward trend and make it into the Champions League next season. Then, Werner is convinced, fans might be backfilling the arenas again. "And we can enjoy the unique atmosphere of Premier League football," he said.