Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has warned onlookers not to be fooled by the body language of Kai Havertz – but admitted he will never lead the line like Diego Costa.
The German ended his long wait for a second Premier League goal with the opener in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Crystal Palace, almost six months after his maiden top-flight strike against Southampton.
Havertz impressed throughout and assisted Christian Pulisic’s first effort while he almost scored a Paul Gascoigne-esque wondergoal, but his volley following a chip over Patrick Van Aanholt was saved.
After being signed in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen for £71million it has taken the 21-year-old time to settle, with a bout of coronavirus and several injuries not helpful, but his manager and fellow countryman is full of admiration for the youngster.
Tuchel said: “He is simply not that guy that you will fully feel or see enraged. For some, you feel they have to fight with others to get a certain momentum.
“He is not a Diego Costa kind of guy, this is simple and I will never demand he will become this.
“Sometimes you cannot confuse with his body language that he does not give everything. He is a very quiet character but he is very well aware of his quality. I can just repeat he stepped up.
“He changes clubs from Leverkusen to Chelsea, a club where you need to win games and perform and everyone expects this, so I am very happy because he stepped clearly out of his comfort zone and he is ready to show it.
“What we can demand from him is quality and this is how he can help the team and become an important player, if he can show this regularly and show he is involved in the games and show his quality on the pitch.”
The display at Selhurst Park provided a glimpse into the potential of Havertz and while Tuchel knows there is more to come, he is not willingly to make bold statements about how good the Germany international can be.
If he had been more clinical, the Blues attacker could have finished with a hat-trick and it remains an area where more work is required.
“We will see, I cannot tell you a date or a level. I don’t know a level that he is reaching and how fast he can do it,” Tuchel added.
“It is up to him to show the quality. He has shown already very strong performance against Everton and Atletico. For us, he had a tough match against Porto and the speech was very easy; go and show you can do better and fight for your place. You get a second chance and he did that.
“He can be even more ruthless in finishing because he has extra quality and I want him to show that quality. He doesn’t have to be our emotional leader because he is not that guy and it is not necessary.
“But in terms of controlling the ball, keeping it in difficult situations, having little runs, being in high positions and doing good finishing and assisting: this is what we demand. He needs to show up and show up. This is life as an offensive player at Chelsea.”
A hat-trick against Barnsley in September highlighted what Havertz could do, but it was on Saturday when he really took the Premier League by storm for the first time.
It was no surprise to opposition manager Roy Hodgson, who spent some time at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year watching the former Bayer Leverkusen ace.
He said: “During the lockdown period when we weren’t getting football other than the Bundesliga, I saw a lot of him and I’ve seen quite a lot since he came to Chelsea.
“There is no doubt he is an enormous talent, very skilful on the ball and very clever with his movements.”
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