Nagelsmann unhappy with subbed Werner in Leipzig win

Timo Werner was substituted before RB Leipzig turned things around against Zenit and Julian Nagelsmann was unhappy with the striker.

RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner was substituted at half-time during the Champions League clash against Zenit.   -  Getty Images

RB Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann confirmed it was primarily a tactical decision to withdraw star forward Timo Werner at half-time during Wednesday's 2-1 comeback win over Zenit in the Champions League.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy's long-range effort gave the visiting team Zenit a 25th-minute lead at the Red Bull Arena that remained intact at the break midweek.

Nagelsmann opted to end a lacklustre showing from Germany international Werner, sending on Matheus Cunha in his place.

Cunha helped to spark a fine second-half showing, even if his finishing was no match for superb strikes from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer – goals that moved the Bundesliga side to the top of Group G.

Former Everton winger Ademola Lookman also impressed after Nagelsmann opted to extend his maiden Champions League appearance at Werner's expense.

"I don't know if he still had a cold but I was just not so happy with how he was interpreting the position," the former Hoffenheim coach told a post-match news conference when discussing Werner's performance.

"We had a clear idea, as I said already, and I think that Ademola Lookman was a bit better in the game.

"It was obvious that the opponent will focus on defending after their lead, we needed more crosses then.

"It was the key for us during the half time to say we have to focus on the winger’s positions. So I needed a forward who is good with headers.

"As I was a bit happier with Mola, Timo had to stay inside."

Werner has been persistently linked with a move away from Leipzig, with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool all reported to be among his potential suitors.

The 23-year-old has eight goals in 12 appearances this season and Nagelsmann insisted his midweek misery should not be given any wider significance.

"This is not a big drama, neither for Timo nor for the future," he added. "He played a lot of games and made a lot of goals. Today the others scored and we won."

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