Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink insists Chelsea are ‘not challengers’ for the Premier League title this season, despite adding ‘the real deal’ forward, Timo Werner, to their ranks.
Chelsea made a statement of intent with a lavish summer spend on a host of new arrivals over the summer, spending more than £200m on several exciting additions including Germany internationals Werner and Kai Havertz.
However, Frank Lampard’s side have endured a disappointing start to the season and last weekend’s draw with Southampton raised questions over their credentials, familiar defensive flaws exposed as the Saints came back from a two-goal deficit to snatch a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Former Blues favourite Hasselbaink believes their defensive issues are a major concern and mean that Chelsea should not be considered contenders for the title, highlighting their defence and goalkeeper as a ‘worry’ in their bid to challenge.
“No, Chelsea are not contenders [for the title],” Hasselbaink told Sky Sports.
“They are leaking too many goals. It is a breath of fresh air to see them going forward with the likes of Mason Mount and Werner.
“But the defence is a worry, if they cannot improve the centre-backs and goalkeeper it is a concern. Alisson wins Liverpool points, but that doesn’t happen with Kepa. Chelsea need to improve in that area.”
Pulisic ➡️ Werner ➡️ Havertz
A glimpse of just how lethal Chelsea’s new look attack could become 🔥 pic.twitter.com/HeAUIN6XTg
— Goal (@goal) October 19, 2020
Hasselbaink did, however, reserve praise for summer signing Werner after he opened his league account for the club with a well-taken brace against Southampton, the forward bouncing back from an indifferent start to life in English football with a much-improved performance.
The Dutchman believes the former RB Leipzig star is ‘the real deal’ as the focal point of the Chelsea attack and praised the 24-year-old’s sharpness and movement after being restored to a central position.
“He is the real deal,” Hasselbaink added.
“He is very sharp, he turns the centre-back quickly, and there is only one thing in his mind. He is not somebody who likes to play with back to goal, he likes to see it and make the run on the shoulder of the centre-backs.
“I like him when he plays through the middle, he does drift to the left, and then comes back to the middle, he is a top striker.
“His runs are limited if he plays on the left as he can only cut back in, he is more restricted and he likes to be free and make runs off the shoulder.
“I didn’t like to play with my back to goal, I couldn’t do it. For me what I have seen of him, he is the real deal, he doesn’t care how they go in.”