Thomas Tuchel has discussed his decision to include much-maligned Romelu Lukaku in the starting XI to face Tottenham Hotspur, stating it is now time for everyone to ‘shift focus’.
As you’ve probably heard (how couldn’t you have?), Lukaku got himself in some hot water with Chelsea in the last week. The forward gave a rather odd interview in which he lauded over his old club Inter, and revealed that he wasn’t best pleased with life at Stamford Bridge.
After facing the furore of the club’s supporters, being pulled from the first-team squad, and being handed a fine, Lukaku finally apologised for the interview.
“To the fans I’m sorry for the upset that I’ve caused,” he said. “You guys know the connection that I’ve had with this club since my teenage years. I totally understand you guys being upset.”
Due to this apology, Lukaku has found himself back in the starting XI for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg clash with Spurs.
Speaking of the decision to start Lukaku, Tuchel said (via club’s website): “I am happy he is on the pitch today.
“We can listen to this interview 100 times and it will not get better, but we can shift our focus. We accept it happened, he has accepted it happened, and we have enough reasons to move on.
“Now we need to protect him and push him because he’s our player and we want him to, and he wants to be, a key player.”
Lukaku’s return to the starting lineup has gone quite well so far, with Chelsea leading 2-0 at half-time. And although he did miss a few decent chances, his overall play in the first half was quite good.