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Tuchel: Lukaku has a Chelsea future and could start against Wolves

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 May 2022

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Romelu Lukaku remains a “big player” for Chelsea, according to Thomas Tuchel, and the striker could make a long-awaited Premier League start against Wolves on Saturday.

Lukaku has endured a miserable first season back in England after making a club record £97.5million (€115m) return to Stamford Bridge from Inter last July.

The striker has scored only 12 goals and declared in an interview with Sky Sport Italia in December that he was not happy with his role under Tuchel.

Lukaku has remained out in the cold and has not started a top-flight game since a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in February.

Belgium’s all-time leading scorer has been linked with a return to Inter at the end of the season, but Tuchel says he has a future at Chelsea and may be in the side to take on Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

When asked about Lukaku’s future, the Blues boss said: “Yes, I want him to be an important part of the squad.

“He is right now a very important part of the squad and, next season, there is no recruitment [due to sanctions imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich] and no players are about to leave, because it’s simply not possible.

“We signed a big player and he still is a big player. He has trained very well and maybe starts tomorrow.”

Tuchel has stressed the importance of “trust and commitment” as Lukaku endeavours to prove his worth.

“I don’t know what needs to happen. He needs to happen. Everyone needs to happen. It’s the life of a professional football player at this kind of level,” Tuchel added.

“Everybody does their very best and it is the same for every player. Of course, we do the very best to integrate him and it needs to happen. He needs to happen. We need to support him and trust in what we do.

“There is not one thing that we can provide to make this happen. It’s about trust, it’s about commitment, about the feeling for the game, a bit of luck, game momentum. That’s it.”

Third-placed Chelsea have work to do in order to secure a Champions League place next season after a 1-0 defeat to Everton and Tuchel expects a response from that loss at Goodison Park. 

He said: “We need another reaction. That’s where we are, we had a week to prepare, which was nice but not nice, because we prefer to play [in the] Champions League.

“But it was nice to have the team, to have influence in training to set the focus on things we want to improve. We want to meet our standards and we demand a lot from ourselves.

“I think there are a lot of reasons why it is sometimes normal to drop in intensity and to drop in the level of effort, but as we are an elite sports team and sports club competing on a very, very high level of this sport, there is not much room for normal behaviour.

“We want elite behaviour and this includes me. We want to step up and show another reaction and show that we can play better, we can have more impact in the matches and start from there on tomorrow.”

Midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho will miss the clash with Wolves due to injury.

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