The question came up for the umpteenth time this season at the press conference. This time a journalist from the BBC: “Thomas, how do you get Lukaku back to his best level?”
She doesn’t come out of nowhere. While that one British analyst, ex-Man City player Micah Richards, was recording Lukaku on the American channel CBS, ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher razed him to the ground. Because of those two missed header opportunities against Real Madrid. It resulted in a lively discussion between ‘believer’ Richards and Carragher.
Carragher: “It’s up to Lukaku himself, not Tuchel. It’s not about the love of a coach. You spend 100 million pounds (113 million euros, ed.) on a player to make a difference in these matches, and he doesn’t even get into the team.”
My players all lack sharpness and level. An individual dip in form naturally has its effect on the group. Romelu had one big chance, and one very big one. Nothing helps a striker better than goals
“It’s not simply Romelu who is feeling the loss of some structure right now,” Tuchel answered. “My players all lack sharpness and level. An individual dip in form naturally has its effect on the group. Romelu had one big chance, and one very big one. Nothing helps a striker better than goals. That would have been a huge boost. He was very focused on training. And well done. He was only missing on Thursday. Hopefully he will come back without pain and be available against Southampton on Saturday. He suffers from the Achilles tendon. Painful, but not a major injury.”
Chelsea’s takeover and defensive instability dominated Tuchel’s press conference on Friday afternoon. The blunders of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Ngolo Kante’s lesser matches, his flaming speech to the players on Thursday to remind them of their responsibility. Not so much his Red Devil.
Lukaku is the least of Tuchel’s worries at the moment, despite being singled out left and right as a symbol of the two defeats. Big Rom came on in the last two games when Chelsea were already 1-3 behind. First against Brentford, then against Real.
However, Tuchel also expects more impact from his striker of 113 million euros.