CHELSEA boss Thomas Tuchel has challenged Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi to step up in the absence of injured duo Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.
The Blues take on Premier League strugglers Norwich at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Havertz and Hudson-Odoi starred in Chelsea’s win over MalmoCredit: GETTY IMAGES
Both have made limited appearances so far this season, starting the majority of games from the bench.
But with injuries to both Lukaku and Werner in Chelsea’s 4-0 Champions League win over Malmo, both have a chance to shine.
Tuchel has hailed Saturday as a ‘big opportunity’ for Hudson-Odoi and Havertz.
He said: “It’s a big opportunity, not a little bit of an opportunity.
“Romelu gets a lot of minutes, Timo gets a lot of minutes. Now is the moment to step up. It’s as simple as that.
“This is what they are waiting for. Now they have the responsibility, here we go. They have to show it. They have our trust, our support and it’s up to them.”
The German says Hudson-Odoi, 20, needs to make the most of the opportunity he will get at his team-mate’s expense.
Tuchel continued: “It’s only a turning point if he makes it a turning point.
“He needs to prove it. He needs to play the next 250 games at the highest level and then we can say it was.
“It will be a turning point if he does not only have one good match, one good half, 60 good minutes but if he does it consistently.”
The German added: “He got the minutes he deserved.
“There is only one way to make the team and that is performance. There is no other way. There never was and there never will be.
“Kai was not at his highest personal level. Other players were closer to it and we were winning, so it was necessary that he waited.
“He did what he needed to do, worked hard and showed some resilience and determination to be more decisive in training.
“He is so talented and dangerous. He has so much potential, he needs to show it.”
Former Blues midfielder Joe Cole has called on the pair to make an impact against Norwich.
Speaking on BT Sport, he said: “Tuchel said that they’ve won matches without Timo and Romelu.
“Players like Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi, they’ve come on tonight, they impacted the game, can they do that again on Saturday?
“All of a sudden you’re looking round and you can wait for Timo to get back, the manager’s not driving the physio mad by asking when’s he back, because you’re winning games and players are stepping up.”
It was revealed on Friday that Lukaku faces up to a month on the sidelines.
But former England international Peter Crouch believes Chelsea have the players to fill the void.
Crouch said: “They’ve got good strength in depth Chelsea.
“There are players like Havertz and Hudson Odoi who have to step up.
“Him (Havertz) and Hudson-Odoi combined really, really well (against Malmo).
“Werner pulled up (with an injury) with no one near him (on the pitch) and it looks like a hamstring (injury). So those players are going to have to step up.”
A win against Norwich will keep Chelsea top of the table, and assuming Liverpool beat rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, the Blues will stay one point clear.
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