Liverpool legend Ian Rush has backed Thomas Tuchel over the Romelu Lukaku affair but feels the striker will soon bounce back to hit top form.
Lukaku, 28, rocked the Chelsea boat with a sensational interview that emerged towards the end of December. The Belgium international drew the ire of Tuchel and Blues fans with inflammatory remarks made to Sky Sports Italy. He pulled no punches in his assessment of the move back to the capital.
He said: “Physically I’m fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional.”
And the former Manchester United star added: “I think everything that happened last summer was not supposed to happen like this, how I left Inter, the way I left the club, how I communicated with Inter fans – this bothers me because it was not the right time.”
The media went into overdrive, with the forward immediately linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge. However, face-to-face talks with Tuchel cleared things up.
And the powerful hitman was back on the score sheet as Chelsea beat Chesterfield 5-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday. Many pundits have given their views on the story.
And Rush has now added his voice, suggesting the manager was spot on with his response.
“There’s no one bigger than the club, that’s what it is all about,” said the Welshman, as quoted by Football Italia. “The club comes first and I thought it was an excellent decision by him [Tuchel] to drop him.”
Lukaku tipped to shine
Lukaku’s progress with the west Londoners hit the buffers after a solid start to his second spell at the club. Bought for a club-record £97.5m, he is expected to provide the goals driving Chelsea on to glory.
The former Everton man has eight in all competitions to date. But Rush has no worries about his future under Tuchel.
“Lukaku will come back stronger and better,” he added. “Lukaku has learned his lesson.
“If there are individuals that think they are better than the team, that creates problems but I think the coaches nailed it, it was an excellent choice from him.”
Chelsea sit second in the Premier League table but are 10 points adrift of Manchester City. The title may be beyond them but the defence of their Champions League crown is still very much alive.
Having finished second behind Juventus in the group stage they face a last-16 clash with French club Lille. And, with a 2-0 first-leg lead in the EFL Cup semi-final with Tottenham, they are still challenging on four fronts this term.
Tuchel needs Lukaku to be firing on all cylinders and Rush has backed him to do just that.