Premier League • England

Tuchel digs out Lukaku with criticism from Man Utd days – ‘that was a big problem’

Thomas Tuchel with his arms outstretched during the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham, January 2022

Thomas Tuchel took aim at Romelu Lukaku with a common criticism after Chelsea suffered a damaging loss in their quest for Premier League glory.

Chelsea slipped 13 points behind title favourites Manchester City when falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Etihad. The hosts dominated the possession stakes, though Chelsea’s stern defence limited Pep Guardiola’s men to half-chances at best for the majority of the contest.

Kepa Arrizabalaga saved well from Jack Grealish after the winger latched on to a Mateo Kovacic mistake. That proved City’s best chance until a moment of magic from Kevin De Bruyne broke the deadlock mid-way through the second half.

Chelsea fought to restore parity, but City held on to secure another huge win in their march towards the Premier League title.

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Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Tuchel said: “A result like this can happen. We deserved a draw.

“We didn’t allow big chances – one from a big mistake in the first half, but we were not under that much pressure.

“Performance-wise it was OK. From the commitment I’m absolutely OK with the performance. We have won games like this against City and that feels very different, but that’s the way it is.

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“We had eight or nine offensive transitions and zero touches in the box. It was simply a lack of precision and a lack of composure. On a level like this we lost too many balls too easily. That was a big problem in our game today.

“We had moments where we suffered, but not stronger than in the first game. In the first half we can do much better and create better chances with better ball control.”

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Lukaku must do more – Tuchel

When asked about his side not providing enough service for Lukaku, Tuchel stated the Belgian must do more in the creation of chances himself.

Furthermore, Tuchel criticised Lukaku for failing to retain possession when the ball was played into him up-field – something he was chastised for during his days at Manchester United.

“Sometimes he has to do the service,” added Tuchel. “He had many ball losses and a huge chance. Of course we want to serve him but he’s part of the team. The performance up front in the first half, we can do much, much better.”

When asked if the title race is now over for the Blues, Tuchel refused to commit.

“It’s not my question to answer,” he added. “We won’t give up, but if City keep on winning every game, nobody can catch them.”

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