The manager of Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel, has hailed his star striker, Romelu Lukaku who returned from his punishment to help the club to beat Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, January 5.
Before the Carabao Cup semi-final game which ended 2-0 in favor of Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku made misguided statements against Chelsea and coach Thomas Tuchel. The 28-year-old Belgian striker said he was not happy at the club and did not like Tuchel’s formation. He also said he would like to return to his former club, Inter Milan soon.
Those comments which were publicized by Sky in Italy a few days before Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool in a must-win Premier League game on January 2, forced coach Thomas Tuchel to kick him out of the club’s squad ahead of the game. In his absence, Chelsea drew 2-2 with Liverpool at Stamford, a scoreline that favored first-placed Manchester City.
Afterward, coach Thomas Tuchel had a meeting with Lukaku over the comments and they were able to iron things out amicably. After the meeting, the Belgium international apologized to the fans, the coach, and the club.
To show that Lukaku has been forgiven, coach Tuchel started him in the game against Tottenham Hotspur. Despite the mockery from Spurs supporters at Stamford Bridge during the game, the Belgian striker was able to give a resounding account of himself.
Though he could not score a goal in the 2-0 win over Spurs, coach Thomas Tuchel stressed that Lukaku showed commitment in the game.
“He was strong and he was involved”, the coach said. “He showed huge commitment in our defensive work and he was always dangerous and used his body well.
“I expected it because I know he can handle pressure and adversity and he seemed to be relaxed after the decision was made when we had finished our talks that he would put in a performance like that.”
Now that Chelsea have beaten Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final round, they are expected to cross to Tottenham Hotspur stadium on January 12 to finish up the round.
While commenting on Chelsea’s performance against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of the round, coach Thomas Tuchel stressed that his team had the chance to score more than two goals during the game.
“We could have created a bigger cushion because we created a lot of big changes for a third or a fourth goal,” the coach said.
“Everyone knows it’s not decided. We have to arrive with full focus and in top shape for the next leg because we need another 90 minutes of top football if we want to go through to Wembley.
“We had two last-minute bits of bad news with Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante, who were both supposed to start. So we decided yesterday to switch to a back four, and the guys were very committed, open, and focused to play as we had played.
“It was a well-deserved win in a big match against a very strong opponent.”
The 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday is the 23rd win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. In the last 36 games Spurs and Chelsea played at Stamford Bridge, Spurs managed to win just once.
After the Carabao Cup game, coach Antonio Conte of Tottenham Hotspur told Sky Sports that the game was difficult and the defeat at the hands of Chelsea proved that Spurs’ London rivals are one of the best clubs in the world.
The Italian tactician said: “It was a difficult game, from the start. Chelsea showed they were much better than us. In the first half, we struggled a lot but we know that we’re talking about one of the best teams in Europe and the world.
“Last year, they won the Champions League and if you compare the two teams I think there’s not a comparison. We’re talking about a team that’s ready to win and they’ve played an important part over many years.
“Today, we have seen the difference between the two teams.”
The second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will take place on January 12. The winner of the tie will face either Liverpool or Arsenal in the final of the tournament at Wembley Stadium.
🗣 "He wants to be, and we want him to be, a key player"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 5, 2022
Thomas Tuchel drew a line under the Romelu Lukaku saga ahead of tonight's match against Spurs 🔵pic.twitter.com/VUGcLiP56A