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Romelu Lukaku’s Tuchel criticism adds another sideshow to Chelsea buildup

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In an interview aired ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday, Romelu Lukaku admitted he is “not happy” with his situation and the system Thomas Tuchel uses.

Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5 million deal in August, and hit the ground running with four goals in his first four games.

It had been feared that the Belgian’s return to an already strong Blues side would tilt the Premier League title race in their favour, but injuries have seen him marginalised under Tuchel.

Having started the first 10 games in which he was available in league and Champions League, an ankle injury in their 4-0 win over Malmo in October saw Chelsea lose Lukaku for over a month.

Since then, he has only started once in the league and once in Europe, coming off the bench five times, with a bout of COVID-19 limiting his minutes further.

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku reacts after the final whistle during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday August 22, 2021.

Though he scored on his return to the starting lineup in the midweek draw with Brighton, Lukaku spoke to Sky Sport in Italy during his time out and claimed he is “not happy with the situation.”

“This is normal. I think the coach has chosen to play with another system,” he said.

“I just have to not give up and continue to work and be a professional. I am not happy with the situation, but I am a worker and I must not give up.”

Strangely, Lukaku also said: “I really hope in the depths of my heart to return to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully win more.”

With Chelsea‘s preparation for the visit of Liverpool plagued by new injuries to Reece James, who has torn his hamstring, and Andreas Christensen, the timing of this interview’s release is far from ideal – despite it being recorded weeks ago.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 4, 2021: Chelsea's manager Thomas Tuchel is interviewed after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Chelsea won 1-0 condemning Liverpool to their fifth consecutive home defeat for the first time in the club’s history. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ben Chilwell is ruled out for the season, while Tuchel could also be without Thiago Silva, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz for the clash.

Unrest from his No. 9 is not what the 48-year-old would have hoped for, then, and in his pre-match press conference he said it was “not helpful,” though stressing the need for context.

“It’s not necessary for the dressing room to always be in harmony to be successful,” he claimed.

“You don’t have to hug each other, love each other every single day. Sometimes it’s good to be on the edge.

“With Romelu, I don’t think anybody in this building is aware he is unhappy. That’s what makes us very surprised.

“So first of all we need to check. I can see no reason why it should be like this. I will wait to see what Romelu says and then we will deal with it.”

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