Thomas Tuchel says he was forced to deploy one Chelsea player in West Ham defeat
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admitted he did not have any other option but to use Romelu Lukaku in the second half in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to West Ham despite previously saying the striker is not fully fit.
The Blues suffered a big derby loss despite taking the lead twice in the game.
Chelsea were relatively very comfortable in the first 45 minutes despite conceding a penalty after Edouard Mendy’s error.
They still had six shots on target to West Ham’s three in the first half and were up by 2-1 at half-time.
However, Chelsea did not look as dominant in the second half. Lukaku’s poor performance was arguably one of the reasons.
Asked whether the introduction of Lukaku after the interval was a tactical decision, Tuchel told beIN SPORTS: “No, we did not try to find another dimension.
“We had to [make the] change because we have another injured player [Kai Havertz].”
Lukaku not ‘Premier League match-ready’ for Chelsea
Unfortunately for the Blues, Lukaku failed to make any significant impact.
He only had 16 touches and did not manage any shot on target.
Interestingly, Tuchel already said just before the game that the reason the Belgium international was not in the starting line-up was that he was not ready.
“I know that Romelu is pushing, I’m happy that he’s pushing,” the German told BT Sport (via Metro) ahead of the game.
“He’s impatient, it’s his nature.
“But there is a difference between match-ready and training-ready and there is a difference between Premier League-ready.
“We need to build him up, he needs to be a bit patient which is not his nature.”
Based on Tuchel’s admission, it is hardly a surprise that Lukaku looked rather off the pace.
It is very clear that Chelsea will need him to rediscover his best form, especially if Havertz is out with an injury.