The Spanish midfielder’s miserable loan to Atletico Madrid shows no signs of improving despite being selected for his second Premier League start to the season at Vicarage Road on Wednesday night.
On the contrary, that performance was pretty much the same as his first start against Aston Villa in September, with Saul hanging on the break after a disappointing performance.
The 27-year-old made way for Thiago Silva as Chelsea boss Tuchel devised a form change to fight for an unconvincing victory secured by another replacement for Hakim Ziyech after Mason’s opener. Mount was called off by Emmanuel Dennis before the break in a game that was delayed after a fan suffered cardiac arrest in the stands.
After the game, Tuchel revealed that Saul’s yellow card – for an early foul on Dennis – was a factor in his replacement and also claimed he considered playing on deadline day by signing as winger against Watford.
“I don’t know where he’s going from that performance, but he was on a yellow card so we had two options,” said Tuchel. “We could have taken Marcos [Alonso] who also got a yellow card and tries Saul as a fullback.
“I had that in mind before the game, if anything happened to Marcos. But I thought maybe it wasn’t the right game to try things with new positions so it was [subbing] him to change his form a bit and to have Thiago on the field with his organization.
“To have Trevoh [Chalobah] on number six which is more physical – unfortunately Trevoh got injured and we ended up with Ruben on the single six. But it was a tactical decision.
Flattering Saul to cheat once more will only increase speculation his loan could be cut short during the January transfer window.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Watford, Tuchel suggested Saul was set to see more minutes on the pitch over the next few weeks after taking the time to adjust to life in the Premier League, along with colleagues Established midfielder Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N ‘Golo Kante have all suffered injuries in recent times.
“I think every player needs his time to adjust and Saul needed his time. He competes with a lot of high quality players in the midfield, ”he said.
“We have to understand him a little better, not in terms of language, but in terms of what his real strength is, the detail of the player, what can he add to the team, where is his perhaps unique quality and what was not easy.
“I guess this is the first time he’s played for a club other than Atletico, he’s from the academy there, and we have to accept that the style of play is so different from Spain to here.
“It teaches us a lesson that everyone needs individual time to adapt and for many days he’s been stronger, I feel him a little more relaxed and at the same time it gives him a little more freedom to impose his quality, he is very strong to finish, to get into the box.
“Right now, where we have injured players in the midfield, even Jorgi doubtful for tomorrow, it’s time for him to be ready and I have felt for several days that he is ready and can show what he wants to show. “