Premier League • England

Thomas Tuchel refuses to praise Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku despite brace – ‘not the moment’

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel refused to praise Romelu Lukaku, even though the striker scored twice against Wolves on Saturday.

After a goalless first 45 minutes, Lukaku put Chelsea in front in the second half from the penalty spot. He won a foul from Romain Saiss, forcing the referee to point to the spot.

Lukaku beat Jose Sa from 12 yards to register his 14th goal since re-joining Chelsea from Inter Milan last summer.

Christian Pulisic set Lukaku up for his second goal just minutes later. That put Tuchel’s side in the driving seat to pick up their first win under the new ownership.

But the Blues could not hold on to get the three points at Stamford Bridge. Trincao got Wolves back in the game with a 79th-minute strike, before Conor Coady equalised deep into stoppage time – making it 2-2 in west London.

At the post-match press conference, Tuchel was asked if the draw felt like a defeat. He replied (via “Of course.”

The German added: “I thought we started both halves well with an offensive 5-3-2.

“We knew about the risks and we need to be disciplined. We showed discipline over most moments of the first half. In situations we took too much risk.

“That cost us some dangerous moments at the end of the first half. We were unlucky not to score, [I was] unsure if it was a foul in the first half.

“I reminded the players at half time to stick to the plan. We were 2-0 up and again we took too much risk. We invited the counter-attacks and big chances.

“Once you do this you lose confidence and invite the opponent to smell something is possible when it is unecessary.”

Tuchel was then asked about Lukaku, who enjoyed one of his better games in a Chelsea shirt. But the manager refused to give him praise: “Yeah, but guys. Good performance but for sure not the moment to talk about individual performances. We lost points.”

Draw leaves ‘bad taste’ at Chelsea – Cesar Azpilicueta

During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta said: “We were leading 2-0 so to drop two points in this way is very disappointing. Of course the taste of the game is bad.

“We are conceding too many goals in the last couple of games which is putting us in a difficult position in the race for the Champions League. Other teams are winning and we are not getting as many points as we should.

“We have to get up together and have a good last few weeks. It is in our hands and we have an FA Cup final to play.

“The pressure is always there. You have to accept it. Every point is important. Now we have to start better.

“We used to be a solid team, now we are conceding a lot of goals. That has put ourselves in a difficult position.”

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