Tuchel on Lukaku
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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has appeared to throw some doubt over Romelu Lukaku’s long-term future at the club, but has hinted he will start against Tottenham tonight (Wednesday). Thomas Tuchel can’t promise the Belgian striker will be at Stamford Bridge beyond this summer amid the chaos surrounding his controversial interview with Sky Italy.
Last week, an interview featuring Lukaku came to light, where he revealed he was unhappy with his situation at Chelsea and was open to a return to Inter Milan in the future.
The 28-year-old only returned to the Premier League last summer, leaving Inter in a deal worth £97.5million.
As a result of his public comments, Tuchel dropped Lukaku for Sunday’s crucial clash against Liverpool.
But he has since apologised for his behaviour, with all parties wanting to sweep the issue under the carpet.
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And the Chelsea boss has suggested Lukaku will return to the starting line-up against Tottenham in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final.
He said: “There will be some disciplinary actions, and he will accept it. He will be fined, and of course, he needs to accept it.
“It would be a nice moment to start [against Tottenham], no? It can be a good occasion to let him start.
“He apologised and is back in the squad. We have given it time. For me, the most important thing was to understand it was not intentional.”
However, Tuchel didn’t make any assurances about Lukaku’s long-term future at Chelsea.
“He did not do this intentionally to create this kind of noise. It’s very important to stay calm and understand it’s not as big as maybe people want it to be,” Tuchel continued.
“It’s not a small thing, but it’s not the biggest thing out there, and it does not make a comeback impossible. This is what we prove now.
“There are zero doubts in his commitment to the team and the club. He is willing to adapt. We have no doubts he will be a big influence and have a big impact.
“I don’t know how he feels about his long-term future, but he has a long-term contract and is fully committed.”
Lukaku said on Tuesday: “To the fans I’m sorry for the upset I’ve caused. You guys know the connection I have with this club since my teenage years.
“Also to the manager I apologise, and to my team-mates and the board. I want to move on forward from this.”
Chelsea have a crucial period of fixtures on the horizon to round off January, starting with Wednesday’s Carabao Cup first leg.
After hosting Chesterfield in the FA Cup this weekend, the Blues travel to Spurs for the second leg, where they’ll be hoping to book a Wembley trip.
It’s then runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the Premier League before facing Antonio Conte’s side for the third time this month.
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