'I hate it': Chelsea striker Lukaku says playing as target man only limits his goal productivity

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku said he hates having to play as a mere target man for the team, as he believes the role does not really play to his strengths.

After such a bright start to his second Chelsea career with four goals in his four first games, the 28-year-old has since hit a wall.

He failed to score in the last five games for the Blues in all competitions.

What is even more concerning is that he registered just two shots on target despite playing full 90 minutes in four of those five games.

Former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte recently claimed Thomas Tuchel has not really figured out how to use the striker properly, which the German disagreed with, but he might have had a point.

Lukaku himself has now had his say about his play style.

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“The way I’m built – I’m quite big – everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man; just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher,” the Belgium international told UEFA’s official website.

“But I’ve never played that way and I hate it.

“My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing towards the goal because that’s when I rarely make wrong choices.

“After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box.

“I can do a bit of everything and in some games when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently.

“The reason I’m so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything.”

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Chronicle view

Despite his muscular built, Lukaku is still among the fastest players at Chelsea, as teammate Antonio Rudiger previously pointed out.

Chelsea, of course, still needs a focal point in the final third, and no one else could play this role aside from Lukaku, so Tuchel is not exactly spoilt for choice in this case.

However, this role forces Lukaku to stay very high on the pitch, leaving him with very limited space to run into, particularly with Chelsea’s patient build-up plays.

A possible solution is to instruct his teammates to play long balls from deep more often and release the ball quicker, which will allow Lukaku to also compete with defenders with his pace, rather than just strength.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.