Thomas Tuchel has criticised Romelu Lukaku for giving an explosive interview in which the striker said he was “not happy” with his situation at Chelsea.
Lukaku, who became Chelsea’s record signing after leaving Internazionale for £97.5m last summer, added to Tuchel’s problems when comments about his dissatisfaction with his role were released by Sky Italia on Thursday. The striker, who has scored seven times in 18 matches this season, said that he had held talks with his manager and that he wants to return to Inter one day.
Unsurprisingly the interview, understood to have taken place three weeks ago, did not go down well with Tuchel before his side’s home game against Liverpool on Sunday. Chelsea have fallen eight points below Manchester City after a poor run and Tuchel said that Lukaku, who has had problems with injury and Covid-19, had hurt his side’s focus with his comments.
“We don’t like it, of course. It brings noise that we don’t need and it’s not helpful,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We don’t want to make more out of it than it actually is. It is easy to take lines out of context, shorten lines, make headlines and then realise later that it is not so bad and maybe not what he meant. We don’t like it, I don’t like it because it’s noise that we don’t need. We need a calm environment and focus and this does not help.”
Lukaku, who fired Inter to the Serie A title last season, has scored against Aston Villa and Brighton since returning from quarantine and Tuchel believes that he is not unhappy.
“I don’t feel him unhappy,” the German said. “I feel the exact opposite. If you ask me yesterday morning, I would say I feel the exact opposite. That’s why I would say it’s a surprise but I am the wrong person to ask. If there is something to discuss it’s behind closed doors, for sure.
“It’s very easy in general to take lines out of context and take lines and make headlines to get the focus and to get the best out of these interviews for several days. If it’s an interview from a person of that kind of interest, an important player, I totally understand the process.
“And that’s why it’s a lot of extra noise, but still we are not here to just read the headlines. And maybe we here can take the time to try to understand what’s going on. Because it does not reflect his daily work, it does not reflect his daily attitude, it does not reflect the daily behaviour which Romelu shows here at Cobham.
“But you need to ask him, not me. This is today’s world and everything you say is out there in public if you are such a big player like Romelu. He is an experienced player and he should know what kind of value it has when he speaks out with messages like this.”