There is perhaps a theory that Romelu Lukaku isn’t performing as well for Chelsea as he did for Inter Milan because the striker is no longer the ‘main man‘ at the club.
Thomas Tuchel strongly disagrees with this thought process.
Lukaku returned to the west London side last summer for a club-record fee of £97.5million after firing Inter Milan to their first Serie A title in 11 years.
The Belgian forward netted 24 goals and assisted another 10 times in 36 matches for Inter in the Italian top-flight – averaging a goal contribution in almost every game.
So when the 28-year-old re-signed for Chelsea, just over seven years after leaving the club to join Everton on a permanent deal, there was real excitement amongst the Blues‘ fan base.
Lukaku has not lived up to his expectations thus far.
Not one of those five goals came in 2022, with his last start against Arsenal last month.
He could be handed a rare start against Wolves this afternoon [Saturday], with Tuchel hinting the striker could feature at Stamford Bridge.
“We signed a big player, we still have a big player,” the Chelsea head coach said on the centre-forward.
“He didn’t come on because we had three subs and had to use one for Jorginho at half-time. He trained very well, and maybe he starts tomorrow.”
Tuchel was pressed further on Lukaku later on in the press conference at Cobham and was asked whether he is not flourishing at Chelsea because he is no longer the main man.
“I disagree. I don’t see any more superstars in our squad than Inter Milan,” he said.
“I see a very humble and not at all-superstar squad here. I think he is still the key figure in terms of maybe status.”
“So it shows me already that I have reason to disagree, maybe I’m not right. But I don’t think there’s a group of superstars where he is in the shade from anybody.”
“Maybe he took too much responsibility, maybe he demanded too much from himself, maybe we expected too much. Maybe it’s a mix of everything. So often, it’s a mix of everything in life and in football in general.”
“But we treat him pretty normal, and he behaves pretty normal. That’s what I love about him and what I loved about him from the first minute.”
“I never had the feeling that I train a superstar. I train a hungry guy, who wants to score, who is not happy, of course how things went out, who is still hustling for a better outcome.”