'It's not easy': Tuchel shares why he didn't pick Lukaku in Chelsea's starting XI vs Crystal Palace

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Romelu Lukaku’s not been picked in today’s starting line-up due to his fitness.

The Blues have announced their starting XI for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium against Crystal Palace.

Lukaku, 28, has missed the last two consecutive matches due to pain in his Achilles.

He’s returned to the squad against Palace but has had to be content with a place on the bench.

It’s the same front three of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Timo Werner that are starting once again.

Tuchel’s explained the decision to put Lukaku on the bench pre-match:

“He is not fit enough for the intensity of our game in a FA Cup semi-final. It’s not easy to come into a game such as this with so much riding on it after a spell out with injury. It’s just a case of him not having as much minutes recently as the other players, his match fitness is not quite there otherwise there’s a big chance that he would have started today,” Tuchel said.

Photo by Justin Setterfield – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Impact from bench?

Hopefully, Lukaku’s passed fit enough to contribute from the bench in the weekend’s massive match.

He’s started the four previous rounds of this season’s FA Cup, scoring three goals along the way.

It’s a huge shame that he’s not ready to come back into the side in a competition he’s loved this campaign, but the Blues may still need him at some stag.

The FA Cup is now the only trophy Chelsea are in pursuit of this season, so it’s a colossal fixture for the club.

They’ll be massive favourites to win. It would be foolish to write off the underdogs, though.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.