Romelu Lukaku apologised to Chelsea and ‘wants to clean mess up’ ahead of Tottenham match, says Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel said there are “zero doubts” regarding Romelu Lukaku’s commitment to Chelsea despite a disruptive interview with Sky Italia prompting the forward to be dropped from the matchday squad against Liverpool. The Belgian will be back in contention to face Tottenham in the League Cup on Wednesday after apologising to Chelsea.
'Smell lingers' - Tuchel admits things not normal as Lukaku returns
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says Romelu Lukaku “feels the responsibility to clean the mess up” following his controversial interview.
Lukaku apologised to Chelsea after giving an interview to Sky Italia in December, where he said he was not happy with his situation at the club.
The Belgian forward was dropped from the squad for the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, but is back in contention to face Tottenham in the League Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday after clear-the-air talks with Tuchel.
"We have given it time to look calmly back on. He apologised and is back in the squad for today's training," Tuchel said on Tuesday.
"For me, the most important thing was to understand - and clearly understand - it was not intentional. He did not do this intentionally to create this kind of noise in front of a big game.
'Noise was too big around Lukaku' - Tuchel on decision to omit striker
"Even before, when he seemed to be, in his opinion, ready to play after his injury from the start and we thought he needed to readapt to the intensity a little bit more, there was never the slightest behaviour against the team.
"So, it was the very first time that he felt in this way. It's very important points to understand and stay calm and understand it's not that big as maybe people want it to be.
"It's also not small, but it's small enough to stay calm, accept an apology and to move on forward."
Chelsea host the first leg against Spurs at Stamford Bridge, and Tuchel believes Lukaku can handle any negative response from the crowd in light of the disruptive comments.
"Well, he's very aware of what happened and what he created," Tuchel added. "He feels the responsibility to clean the mess up.
Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea dejected at full time of the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 28, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images
"Maybe we will have a bit of smell still from the comments, of course, but he can handle it. There is also no other choice. He has to expect it now that people will not be super happy the very next day.
"But, he is still our player and we have good, good, reasons to make him play for us and to convince him to fight hard."
Tuchel admitted it was a “big surprise” to read Lukaku’s comments, although the interview did fall before the striker’s return to the side after an absence due to Covid.
“He does not hold back in his opinions,” Tuchel said. “Credit to him for that.
Sometimes he wears his heart on his sleeve but we should not blame him and focus on the negative side of it.
"We have to adapt to it and yes, it created some noise - which normally you absolutely don't want.
"But there are zero doubts in his commitment to the team and to the club."