Tammy Abraham explains curse of Chelsea’s strikers: ‘It’s a lonely job’

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham believes strikers have struggled over the years at Chelsea due to the style of play at the club.

The number nine shirt at Stamford Bridge has taken on a seemingly cursed existence, with Gonzalo Higuain, Radamel Falcao and Romelu Lukaku among those to have struggled to make an impact for the Blues while wearing it.

Abraham had his go too, enjoying some success under Frank Lampard but that largely fell away once Thomas Tuchel took over and big-money signings came in.

Since then the Englishman has joined Roma and has thrived in Italy under Jose Mourinho, while Lukaku has also looked far more comfortable in Serie A than he did in west London.

Looking back on his time at Chelsea, Abraham suggested that the systems used by various managers have not been ideally suited to getting the best out of those leading the line.

“I remember Lukaku saying at Inter Milan he is facing the goal more compared to Chelsea, when it is more back to the goal and linking up,” Abraham told the Daily Mail.

“It made me think back and compare it to my style of play now. The midfield and defenders are so vital for Chelsea, it is a lonely job up front and can be difficult.

“But I don’t think it’s true to say there is a curse of No9s, there will be different reasons for each striker, and it’s an honour to play for that club.”

Abraham scored 27 goals in all competitions for Roma last season, including nine in Europe as the club won the inaugural Europa Conference League with victory in the final over Feyenoord.

The 24-year-old is one of many young English players to move abroad in recent years in search of regular minutes and he is delighted to have done so, even if life playing for Mourinho does not bring much in the way of praise.

“If you’d told me a couple of years ago I’d be playing in Italy, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Abraham said.

“Leaving Chelsea was difficult, it’s where I’d grown up from the age of seven.

“I didn’t know much about Italian football but it has helped me develop as a player and as a man. I’ve come out of my comfort zone and don’t have any regrets. I love the life and it’s brought out another side to my game.”

He added: “[Mourinho] is one of the best for man-management. He knows how to speak to players, the best way to deal with each one.

“In my case, he never tells me how well I am doing. At half-time, I never get a ‘well done’ even though in the back of my mind I am thinking, ‘you know I’m playing well’. He always wants you to do better.”