Thomas Tuchel admits Romelu Lukaku ‘lacks fitness’ to play 90 minutes for Chelsea

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·3-min read
Thomas Tuchel admits Romelu Lukaku ‘lacks fitness’ to play 90 minutes for Chelsea
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Romelu Lukaku could be reduced to 60-minute bursts, with Thomas Tuchel admitting the striker is still not physically up to playing a full role in his Chelsea team.

The £97.5million club record signing has endured a miserable return to Stamford Bridge after his move from Inter Milan at the start of the season.

The Belgium international was widely seen as the final piece in Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first Premier League title since 2017. But he has struggled for fitness and form and is now reduced to a role on the fringes, having not started a Premier League game since February 19.

“After a period of injury, he lacks the stiffness and fitness for matches,” said Tuchel. “I don’t point the finger on him. It’s just a fact, it’s not even his fault.

“It is just like this and in the crucial time of the season where you need a certain rhythm.

“If you compare our matches and see the difference of Brentford, Real Madrid and then Southampton, Real Madrid - in a short period of time you see the huge amount of effort we put in to become again a winning team. This is what we need.

“It goes from there and then Romelu should have maybe had a goal against Real Madrid and on Sunday, missing the luck. It’s an option that he starts.

“If he starts we need him physically. Maybe he cannot play 90 minutes, maybe to put it all out there for 60 minutes.”

Timo Werner has turned his fortune around in recent weeks with some outstanding performances.

Tuchel insists Lukaku must find own his way to kick start his Chelsea career.

“I don’t think he needs inspiration,” he added. “What he needs is maybe that one moment, one spark. Normally he be a natural starter against Crystal Palace from terms also of the amount Kai Havertz played now, the amount of physicality Kai gives to the matches.”

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

Meanwhile, Tuchel admits he has overplayed Jorginho this season.

“He played injured, sacrificed for the team,” he said. “I think you see it now. You can never underestimate how much pressure is on playing for the national team, the country, for Italy. The demands are high after big success like winning the Euros.

“I think he really felt the pressure there, everybody for Italy felt it. This is normal. Sometimes after big successes, very difficult to keep on going. He put a lot of responsibility naturally on his shoulders because he is never shy to do so. He is never shy to do it here, this is why I love him.

“We see now we overused him, I have the feeling we see the consequences of these huge amount of matches. If he plays he is always fully involved, gives everything and plays with a lot of effort.

“He has to be absolutely fresh to have the influence he normally has. He is not mentally, physically in the freshest moment at the minute. He is not to blame for it.”

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