Antonio Conte claims Chelsea FC boss Thomas Tuchel does not ‘understand’ how to use Romelu Lukaku

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes Thomas Tuchel does not yet “understand” the best way to utilise Romelu Lukaku.

The £97.5million striker has looked frustrated in recent games and was again starved of service as Chelsea lost 1-0 to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Chelsea have managed just one shot on target in two defeats against Juve and Manchester City.

Conte, who reignited Lukaku at Inter Milan, said last night: “He is one of the most difficult forwards to face.

“He always has to be played, but at Chelsea they don’t quite understand how to use him. If they understand, Chelsea will become the team to beat.”

Tuchel says Chelsea have a problem after back-to-back defeats.

The German questioned their mentality, bravery and hunger to score.

Worryingly, Tuchel admitted he was at a loss to explain such a listless performance on the back of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester City.

Tuchel said: “It is maybe a shooting problem, because if you don’t shoot, they cannot be on target. We found the spaces, it wasn’t easy to get a lot of shots, but there are some chances where it is not so hard to find the target.

“We were lacking the aggression we had [in training] with runs in the last 20 metres. I had the feeling if it was a 50-50 decision, we went back, we went safe, but we don’t want to play like this.”

Tuchel was highly critical of his team — and his frustrations were evident as he made five second-half substitutions in a bid to turn the game around and avoid a first defeat in Group H.

As well as being infuriated by his players’ lack of penetration, he blasted their sloppiness when conceding the only goal of the game, seconds after half time.

“I didn’t feel us fresh mentally,” he added. “I felt totally sharp and ready in training. Today it was not like this. I don’t know why. If you need any proof, after two ball losses in the first half it is the goal after 10 seconds. It is not typical for us in our defensive structure to give away a cheap goal. It describes the whole game that this is the decisive goal.

“We were struggling to find our rhythm and to keep belief in our structure. Once we started to do other things, we made mistakes and that cost us.”

Callum Hudson-Odoi insisted there was not an issue with attitude, but accepted Chelsea did not deserve to win, despite dominating possession.

“We came with the mentality and determination to win and we gave it our best, but it was not good enough,” he said. “We know that and we have to go back and reflect on it. There is a lot to improve on and a lot to work on.

“We did well in certain aspects, but we can always do better. We were disappointed to concede a goal so quickly after the start of the second half and we reacted well, but we didn’t get the goal we should have got.”

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