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Here’s why Thomas Tuchel thinks Raheem is a real dream… after Sterling strikes twice to lead 10-man Chelsea to home win over struggling Leicester City
- Thomas Tuchel praised new striker Raheem Sterling after his brace on Saturday
- Sterling’s goals were his first for Chelsea and led them to victory over Leicester
- The German manager was not surprised that Sterling was available at Man City
- Chelsea won most of the game with 10 men after the sacking of Conor Gallagher
Thomas Tuchel was not surprised to see Raheem Sterling available from rivals Manchester City in the summer, having entered the final year of his contract.
Once the dust settled after an eventful afternoon at Stamford Bridge, he may not have been surprised by the way Sterling influenced the proceedings against Leicester.
In discussions ahead of Sterling’s £50m move, Tuchel is said to have reflected on how different Chelsea’s silverware would have been during his 18-month reign had they had more contenders, like the 27-year-old, inquire.
Chelsea have won three trophies under the German but could have at least doubled that number by losing two finals last season on penalties from Liverpool and also an FA Cup showpiece against Leicester the season before.
Raheem Sterling opened his goalscoring account for new club Chelsea against Leicester
What Sterling produced to give Chelsea a stubborn win on Saturday was a display that showed why he was ‘the number one priority’ for Tuchel.
First of all, the goals. In a game with few clear chances and shots on target for Chelsea, he managed to cut two out and might have had three had it not been for Danny Ward’s impressive save.
The first came via a deflection of Daniel Amartey’s foot, but his opening strike for Chelsea and the second, a tap from Reece James’s glorious cross, demonstrated his clever movement to find space in and around the penalty area, as well as that ability to eventually to find the net that Tuchel wanted so badly.
Thomas Tuchel watched from the stands as Sterling’s brace delivered Chelsea a crucial home win
After being reduced to ten men after Conor Gallagher’s red card in the 28th minute, Chelsea owed Sterling to give Leicester something to worry about for the remaining hour.
Such is Sterling’s status, he has quickly become a source of guidance for some of the club’s younger players. Stepping up to lead Chelsea to victory against Leicester will only reinforce that.
That was especially important given the difficult conditions they found themselves in, one man down and also manager Tuchel in the stands and unable to influence the game from the sidelines.
Sterling’s relief at breaking his competitive duck for his new club was evident in the impassioned celebration that followed his first goal.
As his career progressed, he has become a more goalscorer. Now he wants to be one of his team’s go-to men for goals.
Tuchel felt Sterling’s goals will give him a ‘huge boost’ in his bid to add more finishes soon
“He scored twice and that was super important not only for us, but also for him individually,” said Tuchel.
“I felt he wasn’t happy, he wants to score more, get more chances. Everyone is waiting for these goals. We were in the fourth game and he was waiting desperately. It will give him a huge boost and I am sure he will score more.”
With Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner gone – Chelsea hope to add some firepower before Thursday’s transfer deadline – Sterling will ensure they not only have a player to look forward to for goals, but also someone who enjoys that responsibility.
Harvey Barnes pulled back a goal for Leicester and they amassed the chances but couldn’t take another that would have given them a deserved draw.
They remain pointless. Defender Timothy Castagne said of manager Brendan Rodgers: “He knows it’s difficult for us because we haven’t had the start to the season we wanted.
‘I think it will come. We just can’t panic because sometimes – it didn’t happen here – but I feel like we desperately want the win in some of the other games, so we start to panic, we stop playing our game and we lose the result. We have to keep working, keep playing our game.’
Stats Chelsea – Leicester City
CHELSEA (4-2-2-2): Mendy 8; James 8.5, Chalobah 6.5, Silva 8, Cucurella 7.5 (Chilwell 90min); Gallagher 5, Jorginho 6.5 (Pulisic 75, 5.5); Loftus-Cheek 8, Mount 5 (Azpilicueta 46, 6); Havertz 6.5, Sterling 8.5 (Kovacic 75, 6).
Scorer: Sterling 47, 63.
Booked: Gallagher, Havertz.
Manager: Thomas Tuchel 7.
LEICESTER (4-1-4-1): section 6; Castagne 6.5, Evans 7, Amartey 6.5, Justin 7; Soumare 6.5 (Iheanacho 5.5, 55); Praet 5 (Perez 55, 6.5), Tielemans 8 (Ndidi 89), Dewsbury-Hall 7, Barnes 7.5; Vardy 5.5.
Scorer: Barnes 66.
Booked: Dewsbury Hall, Praet.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 6.
Referee: Paul Tierney5.