Timo Werner has moved to play down expectations over his goal threat for Tottenham, saying scoring is no longer the biggest part of his game and that he can thrive at Spurs without being “the main man” up front.
The former Chelsea forward marked his return to English football with an assist as Ange Postecoglou's depleted side twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Manchester United on Sunday.
The German’s pass set up Rodrigo Bentancur to fire home the visitors’ second equaliser after Richarlison’s header cancelled out Rasmus Hojlund’s early strike and Marcus Rashford restored United’s advantage.
Werner, though, failed to hit the target with four shots, including a good opening in the first half, bringing recollections of his two seasons at Chelsea, which were characterised by wasteful finishing.
Werner scored 93 goals in 157 appearances during his first spell at RB Leipzig, joining the Blues as one of Europe’s most lethal scorers, but he struggled to find the net consistently in west London, returning to his former club in 2022 with just 10 Premier League goals to his name.
But Werner suggested he has not returned to the capital to be a goalscorer first and foremost. “There was always criticism of my game [at Chelsea],” he told Standard Sport. “At the beginning I also started like I did [at Old Trafford], from the left side.
“I think a lot of people wanted to see me scoring more goals, but at Spurs, with the tactics we have and the way the manager wants me to play, I can bring a lot to the group with my assists and maybe [by] not being the main man who scores — to make deep runs to create space for the others and, like yesterday, to create an assist.”
Asked if he felt the criticism of his time at Stamford Bridge had been unfair, Werner said he is now mature enough to appreciate there is more to his game than just goals. “Maybe sometimes it’s not about the fans or the manager,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s about you. You look at your stats and think, ‘I wanted to score more goals’. I think now I’m a bit older, I see how important assists and deep runs are for the team. I also want to score goals, but it’s not the main part of my game anymore. I can bring so much more, especially in this kind of tactic, for the group.”
Werner’s loan deal from Leipzig includes an option for Spurs to make the move permanent for around £15million at the end of the season.
“When I spoke to the manager [Postecoglou], I wanted to be part of this group, I wanted to be part of playing for this manager, these tactics,” he added. “That was the biggest reason for coming to Spurs. I’m very pleased with my game. It was a very good debut.”