Struggling Chelsea star can take heart from Thomas Tuchel’s Mr.Reliable

In pictures: Chelsea v Southampton

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Saul Niguez’s arrival at Chelsea in a late deadline deal from Atletico Madrid was hailed as one of the coups of the transfer window. But the Spaniard has struggled to live up to lofty expectations during his stint so far in west London.

The midfielder has yet to win over Blues fans or boss Thomas Tuchel with his limited appearances so far, and he was even hauled off at half time on his Premier League debut after a disappointing display against Aston Villa.

As far as starts go, the 26-year-old has endured a baptism of fire over the past couple of months.

But Saul can take heart from how his early blues at Stamford Bridge parallel with Tuchel’s Mr.Reliable, Mason Mount.

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Mount had established himself as a key player under Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard.

However, even with his displays before Tuchel’s arrival, the midfielder found himself on the bench at the start of the German’s reign.

Mount responded in the right way from that setback and has now gone one better than just muscling his way back into the Blues team.

The England midfielder has quietly become Tuchel’s most important player in this Chelsea side – much like how he did the same for Lampard after a rough start to life in the Premier League.

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Mount’s hat-trick in last weekend’s 7-0 demolition job on Norwich City took his tally of goals since Tuchel took charge to nine – making him the most prolific Chelsea star since Tuchel’s reign began back in January.

Mount has come a long way since being snubbed in Tuchel’s first game – and his fightback to prominence can act as inspiration for Saul as he continues to adapt to life in England.

The Atletico ace was handed another chance to impress during the Blues cup clash with Southampton on Tuesday night.

He completed the full 90 minutes to put himself into contention for this weekend’s game at Newcastle with both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ngolo Kante rated as doubtful for the trip to Tyneside.

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Chelsea fans online may not have been convinced by his performance against the Saints, but Tuchel disagreed – hinting that the midfielder could already be winning his boss over.

“Was a good match, a huge step in the right direction for him. I am happy,” said Tuchel in assessment of Saul’s performance in midweek.

“We thought maybe he would be struggling with the intensity at the 70th minute but he got better and better, had chances and shots. We thought let’s keep him and give him the minutes. It was a good step for him.”

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