Thomas Tuchel tells Romelu Lukaku ‘you should’ve known better’ and confirms the £98m star has apologised and vowed to ‘clean the mess up’ as he returns to the squad after infuriating fans and being dropped for Liverpool clash
Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea’s dispute with record signing Romelu Lukaku has now been resolved, but admits the 28-year-old striker should have known better before delivering a bombshell interview.
Lukaku gave an exclusive interview to Sky Italia, recorded several weeks ago but published last week, in which he opened up on his unhappiness under Tuchel and his desire to one day play for Inter Milan again. The Belgian joined Chelsea from the Italian side for £98million last summer.
The revelation went down terribly in the Chelsea ranks and Lukaku was quickly banished from the match-day squad prior to the team’s huge title-race showdown with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s row with record signing Romelu Lukaku is now resolved
Lukaku had infuriated Chelsea staff and players with his comments in an interview in Italy, in which he said he was unhappy at the club and wanted to return to Inter Milan one day soon
Now, speaking during his press conference on Tuesday ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final tie with Tottenham, Tuchel addressed the matter and confirmed all issues with Lukaku had been resolved following face-to-face talks.
The timing of Lukaku’s comments had seemed particularly strange given he was amid a productive spell on the pitch, following goals against Zenit St Petersburg, Aston Villa and Brighton.
Despite being both surprised and angered by Lukaku’s comments, Tuchel insisted he was sure that Lukaku was not unhappy or disruptive, but also informed his star striker that he should have known better given his considerable experience.
Tuchel told reporters: ‘For me its important to understand the overall picture we have. Does it reflect his overall mood and attitude? Absolutely clear no.
In his interview with Sky Italia Lukaku said he wasn’t happy with his role unde Tuchel
The striker was dropped from Tuchel’s squad to face Liverpool after his comments
‘Was the intention to create trouble or leave the club, put pressure on the coach? Absolutely not.
‘Of course he should have known better, that’s why we have to clean it and clear the air together.
‘We need to be adult enough and mature enough to accept an apology and have a clear head to prepare the upcoming matches.
‘He is very aware of what happened and what he created and he feels the responsibility to clean the mess up – maybe we will have a bit of smell from it of course, but he can handle it and he has no other choice.
The timing was unfortunate for Chelsea, with Lukaku having returned to rich goal-scoring form
Tuchel says Lukaku is keen to take responsibility and ‘clean the mess’ his outburst created
‘He cannot expect everyone to be super happy the next day, but hes still our player and we are happy that he is our player and will protect him. It is important that the stadium supports the team, even if people disagree, everything we do is about the team.’
Tuchel now expects a firm line to be drawn under the matter, though he admitted he does not know what the future holds.
The German added: ‘He has a contract for a reason and he wants to achieve big things with his youth club Chelsea which means a lot to him.
‘I cannot predict the future but there was no intention behind all this to change the club or change his ambition.
‘Romelu speaks out openly not only in the media but also in the dressing room.
Chelsea will now draw a line under the matter and integrate Lukaku back into the squad again
‘It was maybe a bit too open and in a direction where supporters can be offended and they have the right to be offended – but we took our time and we can move on now.’
The Chelsea boss confirmed Lukaku has now been restored to the senior squad and will be available for Wednesday’s showdown with Spurs.
Tuchel also confirmed that both Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah are likely to miss the match due to injury concerns, while Timo Werner is on the cusp of a return pending fitness checks.
‘Andreas is a doubt for tomorrow and Trevoh is out tomorrow,’ Tuchel added.
‘Werner trained yesterday and has one more training to go, he feels much better and has had no reactions so far. If the training goes well we can have him on the bench or give him some minutes.’