Kai Havertz makes honest Chelsea admission after ‘tough’ Premier League debut

Kai Havertz has admitted the Premier League is “much tougher” than the Bundesliga after opening night struggles for Chelsea.

The 21-year-old’s £70million transfer was only confirmed at the beginning of the month, leaving very little time for him to be up to speed.

However, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard threw the former Bayer Leverkusen forward in from the off against Brighton on Monday night.

Goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma earned the Blues a 3-1 win, but Havertz struggled to impact the game in the final third.

Speaking after the victory, Havertz claimed he was still adapting to the additional intensity of the English game, after such a brief pre-season with his new team.

“It was a very tough game, very difficult because I had long holidays and I came back and trained for five or six days with the team,” Havertz told the Evening Standard.

“More important is that we won so I am very happy to make my debut.

“The Premier League is much tougher than the Bundesliga. I have seen that in training and saw it in the game as well. But I am happy to play 80 minutes and hopefully next week I will continue.”

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Chelsea have been active this summer, signing Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva.

However, one player who continues to be linked with the Blues is West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice.

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Despite failing to influence the game too much, Lampard praised the work-rate of the German, who played 80 minutes before being replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

"It is not a game where you come away and say, 'here are 10 really vintage moments', but I thought there were real moments of quality and calmness. It is a big ask and there is a lot on his shoulders for the signing that he was," Lampard told Sky Sports after the game.

“The fact that he is young and coming to a different league. He plays the game at such a pace with his quality. In terms of how he receives the ball, I think we saw glimpses of that.

"We also saw him sprint back 80 yards to make a defensive tackle having given the ball away. So everything I have seen about his character is spot on."

Havertz is likely to retain his place for Chelsea’s next fixture, a huge looking clash against champions Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. And the forward is confident his team can pick up all three points against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

He added: “Of course they is one of the best teams in the world. We show respect but we are a very great team as well. It will be a very hard game but for them also. We will work hard and I think we will have a chance to take points.”

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