Timo Werner has expressed his relief after scoring against Southampton, conceding that the first half “was the story of my whole Chelsea career” as he saw a goal ruled out by VAR.
Chelsea rose to the top of the Premier League table after a hard-fought 3-1 win at home to Southampton on Saturday, thanks to goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Werner and Ben Chilwell.
Werner’s effort marked his first top-flight goal since February, and he showed great character to keep plugging away in the final third instead of letting his head drop after seeing a first-half header ruled out in controversial fashion.
Werner thought he had put Chelsea 2-0 up as he rose highest to nod home a teasing Callum Hudson-Odoi cross shortly before the interval, with both teams returning to their respective halves after lengthy celebrations.
However, referee Martin Atkinson eventually checked his pitchside monitor for a possible foul in the buildup and overturned the goal, much to the bemusement of head coach Thomas Tuchel on the touchline.
Chelsea’s misery was compounded when James Ward-Prowse equalised for Southampton on the hour mark, but he was sent off for a second yellow card moments later, and Werner was then presented with another chance to make his mark.
The German striker turned home a Cesar Azpilicueta cross to put the Blues back in front and cap an impressive all-round display, with Chilwell then rounding off the scoring one minute from time.
Werner has struggled for consistency in the final third since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig in June 2020, and was initially left feeling despondent once again after another setback at Stamford Bridge.
The 25-year-old was pleased to get his reward for his perseverance in the end, though, despite admitting that the Blues were fortunate to emerge with all three points against a dogged Saints outfit.
“I was very happy to score and help the team,” Werner told Chelsea TV post-match. “In the first half, it was the story of my whole Chelsea career in one game a little bit! It was obviously not so clear because it took the referee a while to make his decision. Maybe 50/50. We have to accept it, I had to accept it, and in the end, I was happy I could score again and we won the game.
“It was a very important win after losing the last two. It was a very tough game for us because Southampton did very well. We were a bit lucky they conceded the red card. It opened up a lot of space for us. They made it very hard to create chances, but overall we were the better team.”
The striker added on the importance of getting back to winning ways following two successive losses: “We won this game with pressure on our shoulders. We had the mentality to win. In the last two games we faced very good teams. It was hard to create chances against those teams. We wanted to be back to our old strengths, and we were.
“When you win the Champions League and start the season winning nearly every game, you become under a little bit of pressure to win and win and win every game. We know we are a very strong team and we are hard to beat.”