Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku saying there’s no time to laugh about striker

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After Romelu Lukaku ‘s recent troubles, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel stated that “now is not the time to laugh about” the striker. Lukaku was signed by the club for £97.5 million in 2012.

Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku saying there's no time to laugh about striker
Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku only touched the ball seven times in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, the fewest touches by any player in a 90-minute Premier League appearance since the data was first collected in 2003.

“He’ll be protected since he’ll be in the spotlight.” Tuchel stated, “Romelu will always be a part of the answer.”

“It’s like this sometimes with strikers who are struggling with self-confidence and finding room to get involved with a competent defensive side.

“Of course, it’s not what we want, and it’s certainly not what Romelu wants, but now is not the time to make jokes about him.”

“I think he hid at the weekend,” Chris Sutton, who scored one goal in 28 appearances for Chelsea in 1999-2000, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

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“He lacks confidence and appears to be a dissatisfied player.” He has so much potential for the team.”

“I’ve buried myself in games,” Sutton, an ex-Norwich, Blackburn, and Celtic striker, said.

Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku saying there's no time to laugh about striker

“Your self-assurance begins to diminish, and you begin to withdraw. That was him in a nutshell. You tell yourself you’re not hiding, but you are.

“He wasn’t interested in the ball.” It’s a lack of faith, reluctance, and uncertainty.

“It’s fine for [experts] to point fingers at other players, but he was stumbling.” He wasn’t moving in an obvious manner.

“I don’t think they’ll both be there next season [Lukaku and Tuchel].” There needs to be a compromise.”

Lukaku, a 28-year-old Belgian striker, has only scored five Premier League goals in 17 games since rejoining Champions League holders Chelsea this summer, with five more goals in other competitions.

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He is yet to score a league goal in 2022 after being benched for a game after giving an interview in which he looked to be critical of the club, despite scoring twice in the recent Fifa Club World Cup, including in the final victory over Palmeiras.

Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku saying there's no time to laugh about striker
Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku

Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, and Lukaku’s current teammate Timo Werner are among the big-money forwards who have struggled for goals at Chelsea compared to their strike rate elsewhere.

“Strikers have struggled at Chelsea in the past, so it may not be the easiest place in the world for strikers,” Tuchel added.

“Chelsea, in my opinion, are a powerful defensive club, a physical team, with a specific attitude while playing competitive football.” In terms of defending, we expect a lot from our strikers.”

Tuchel was commenting before of Tuesday’s first leg of the Champions League last-16 contest against Lille.

Match of the Day analysis

Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, and Ian Wright, all former England attackers, agreed that Lukaku’s teammates share some of the blame for his lack of effect on Match of the Day.

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Thomas Tuchel backs Romelu Lukaku saying there's no time to laugh about striker

“There’s obviously not an understanding of what he wants, what he needs,” ex-Newcastle striker Shearer remarked. He’s had to stop jogging because the ball isn’t coming in. It’s great to have seven touches.

“He needs to demand it and ensure that his teammates are ready to pass the ball in.” It’s a little bit of both [in terms of who’s to blame]. He has to be demanding it, but it’s pointless to pay so much if you’re not going to play to your forward’s strengths.”

“If I wasn’t getting service, I’d be smashing them,” former Barcelona attacker Lineker remarked. You’d be making things difficult for them. You’d be yelling and screaming at them to hand the ball over to you.”

“They can’t be doing that in training because they’re not looking when the ball should just be sent into an area for him,” ex-Arsenal player Wright stated. “How could you pay that much money and not play to his strengths?” says the narrator.

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