Tuchel insists Romelu Lukaku does not need to alter style to thrive at Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has said that he will not try to get the best out of Romelu Lukaku by asking the Chelsea striker to alter his game.

Lukaku has not convinced since leaving Internazionale for £97.5m and he missed Chelsea’s recent 2-2 draw with Liverpool after airing his frustrations in an interview with Sky Italia. However the Belgian returned when the European champions took a 2-0 aggregate lead in their Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham last week and Tuchel believes that the 28-year-old is on the right path before Wednesday night’s second leg at Spurs.

“Romelu had a huge physical impact in the game against Tottenham,” Tuchel said. “Maybe he wasn’t so spectacularly involved, but he was involved in playing a crucial part with his physical qualities. We saw that in his data.

“Once he adapts to the physical style of the league there is no doubt he will have a huge impact. We will not reinvent his style or reinvent the player. He can simply be Romelu and then we are all fine and then he will score because this is what he always does.”

Lukaku, who cleared the air with Tuchel last week, scored his eighth goal of the season when Chelsea beat non-league Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup last Saturday. “Nothing helps more than goals with strikers,” Tuchel said. “There is no talk, no video that can build up the same feeling as a goal.”

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s players must show ‘they are good enough to start’ against Tottenham
Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s players must show ‘they are good enough to start’ against Tottenham. Photograph: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Chelsea’s manager was asked whether Timo Werner could act as a foil for Lukaku, who flourished alongside Lautaro Martínez at Inter last season. “He could be but I see no reason that we should copy Inter,” Tuchel replied. “We have our style and enough possibilities. We can play with two strikers, we can play 3-5-2. We have the possibility to play three strikers.

“We played a 4-4-2 against Tottenham in the first leg. I don’t mean it in a harsh way: the players need to show they are good enough to start. We are not inventing new stuff to make players better or more happy. They have all it takes. It’s on them to show it.”

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Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kanté missed the first leg against Spurs after testing positive for Covid-19, but the influential duo could boost Chelsea’s chances of reaching Wembley by returning to the squad. Tuchel reported that Chelsea had no new injury concerns.

Billy Gilmour has returned to Chelsea for assessment on a knee injury. The Scotland midfielder has struggled since joining Norwich on a season’s loan.


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