Thomas Tuchel gives his three-word verdict on Lukaku's substitute appearance for Chelsea yesterday
Thomas Tuchel delivered a brief but encouraging description of Romelu Lukaku’s substitute appearance for Chelsea against Newcastle United yesterday.
As quoted by the club website, Tuchel used just a trio of words to summarise the Belgian’s impact from the bench on Sunday.
Lukaku down the ladder
Lukaku found himself out of the starting XI for the third Premier League game running, with the manager opting instead for Kai Havertz.
Tuchel’s decision to drop the record-signing eventually paid off, as it was Havertz who scored the late winner in beautiful fashion.
His touch to control Jorginho’s long pass made the Stamford Bridge crowd purr enough, but the subsequent finish made them roar even louder.
The young German can do little wrong leading Chelsea’s attack right now.
He has four goals in three games and 11 in total for the season.
This makes him level with Lukaku, whose last league goal dates back to the very end of December.
Although he might be frustrated by his lack of game time, the striker cannot really complain about Havertz having Tuchel’s trust at the moment.
Until the goals return on a frequent basis, a backup role is the best he can ask for right now.
One that the German coach thought Lukaku played pretty well on the weekend.
“I’m happy because the impact in general from the bench was huge – (Mateo) Kovacic was very strong, Christian Pulisic was very strong and Romelu gave a presence,” said Tuchel.
Romelu is running out of chances
Because of Chelsea’s ferocious fixture schedule, Lukaku at some point will be recalled to the initial line-up once again.
The FA Cup quarter-final encounter with Middlesbrough this weekend is probably the most likely match to be reinstated.
Although the Blues enter Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Lille with a 2-0 cushion, the team cannot afford to step off the gas, even if they cannot cover the cost of fuel to travel.
Failure to find the net soon, though, and Lukaku can pretty much wave goodbye to a prominent position in the side and perhaps his Chelsea career.