Tuchel explains decision to play unfit Chelsea star in West Ham defeat
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has explained why he decided to play Romelu Lukaku in Saturday’s loss to West Ham despite the striker’s not being fully fit.
To be fair, Tuchel did not have many options when he had to replace Kai Havertz who was in pain after a sliding tackle from former Chelsea teammate Kurt Zouma at the end of the first half.
Tuchel pretty much had two options at that point; Lukaku or Timo Werner.
Unfortunately, both Lukaku and Werner recently nursed an injury and were unlikely to be 100 percent fit. But Tuchel had to make a decision and opted for the former.
“It’s hard because we made two out of the three changes due to injuries with Marcos [Alonso] and Kai,” the German told Chelsea TV.
“Then we chose Romelu. I think he was not fit [enough] for 45 minutes, but we chose him for [his] height for the defensive set-pieces and to match the height of the opponents.
“But it’s not an excuse.
“We were in charge here. We were good enough, the team was good enough.
“I was confident that we could take all three points, which was possible since we had enough touches in the box and created enough chances.
“But — there is a huge but — we made too many big mistakes.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain manager further added that his players will have a day off to recover and reflect after the disappointing loss before they begin their preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Zenit.