‘Tuchel’s been ruthless’: Rio Ferdinand claims 29-year-old Chelsea player isn’t trusted by the manager any more

Rio Ferdinand reckons Thomas Tuchel lost faith in Romelu Lukaku quite a long time ago.

Speaking on his own YouTube channel, Ferdinand suggested there has been simply no trust between the Chelsea player and manager for a while.

Lukaku’s relationship with Tuchel won’t exactly win any awards.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The striker suddenly found himself amongst the substitutes for a long stretch of the season, following a spell on the sidelines due to injury.

After recovering in late November, he came off the bench four times consecutively in the Premier League, before missing a further two games because of covid.

His second return actually ended rather well, coming on at half-time to score against Aston Villa.

He added another goal to his relatively small tally in the subsequent fixture, with some wondering if this was the Belgian’s turning point.

All gone wrong for Rom

Alas, Lukaku’s light flickered out pretty quickly once again.

Opening up to Sky Italia about loving Inter Milan is one thing, but seemingly criticising Tuchel’s tactics took the interview to another level.

Chelsea’s boss hit the punishment button by dropping the club-record signing completely from the match-day squad against Liverpool.

From that point on, it’s been pretty frosty between the pair, with the centre-forward failing to ever properly rediscover his form.  

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Ahead of the FA Cup final, Lukaku scored three times in two league outings, again asking the question whether he had gotten back to his best.

But those optimistic glances soon turned to disappointing stares, as the number nine had an afternoon at Wembley to forget.

The one real chance that fell his way sailed high into the crowd, a snapshot that Ferdinand blamed on a lack of self-assurance.

Thomas Tuchel has lost faith in Romelu Lukaku

“He hasn’t got the confidence of the coach, because no matter what the manager says to him right now, that takes another ten games before he feels that confidence coming through because of what’s happened in the season,” said the former Manchester United defender.

“He hasn’t picked him enough, so he knows the manager doesn’t trust him properly.

“That filters out to the team, so he’s probably thinking some of the players are going to be doubting him.

“He’s not doing what they expected of him. He’s at the lowest of lows, so any chance that came to him, he wasn’t the Lukaku that had an Inter Milan shirt on.

“He’s not (the same player) right now, no.

“I think that’s obviously (because) he hasn’t performed what everyone expected him to, but also the manager has taken him out of the team. Tuchel’s been ruthless.”

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

In Tuchel’s defence, Lukaku’s minimal output gave him little choice but to take him out of the side.

Chelsea have arguably played their best football this term without the 29-year-old attacker.

They put four past Juventus in the Champions League, smashed Southampton for six, defeated Norwich City 7-0 and beat Real Madrid away, all whilst Lukaku was out of the equation.

If that continues into next year, then a future in blue for Romelu feels very unlikely.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.