Premier League • England

Tuchel assesses Chelsea striker deal with talks underway; rails against Lukaku question

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel weighed in on Southampton’s pursuit of Armando Broja, and insisted a question about Chelsea under-utilising Romelu Lukaku lacked merit.

Broja, 20, is enjoying a fine loan spell under Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton. The Chelsea loanee has bagged seven goals across all competitions, and the Saints are understood to be trying to turn the move permanent.

Indeed, The Guardian recently stated discussions were taking place over a permanent switch. Unitl now, Chelsea’s stance on the pursuit had remained unclear.

However, speaking in a press conference on Monday (via Football London), Tuchel said of the talented marksman: “He is our player.

“He is doing good, but at the same time it is only halfway through the season so he needs to continue to improve and make his statement at Southampton. They are our players for a reason, they have quality and a mentality

“Armando is getting better and better. He is a unique player with unique strengths: strong and robust and a goalscorer.

“Now is not the time to talk about summer. He has to stay calm and keep on improving.”

Lukaku approach the “wrong” one

Tuchel was then asked about club-record signing, Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian again lacked stellar service as the Blues suffered a critical defeat at the hands of title rivals Manchester City on Saturday.

Post-match, Tuchel criticised Lukaku for failing to hold the ball up and provide Chelsea with an escape route from City’s pressure.

Furthermore, Tuchel stated Lukaku must do more to create chances for himself and the rest of the team, rather than simply rely on others to be the creative sparks.

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Tuchel was again asked about service into Lukaku on Monday, though the German insisted an entire team serving one player is the “wrong approach”.

Tuchel responded: “He is a key player and we want him to be a key player, but for me it is the wrong approach.

“It is a team sport so it is not about ten players serving one player, it is not Chelsea and is not football.”

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Tuchel explains second half slump

Tuchel was then asked why Chelsea’s second half of the season has been such a struggled compared to the first.

“We had the full squad and when you have that you have a certain energy that makes you overperform,” added Tuchel. “We should not make the mistake and talk ourselves into underperformance.

“We have struggled with circumstances we can’t influence but it’s the same belief in the trust and the process. Every game is very different.

“I don’t know if we had a chance to play the same back five with our line-up. Maybe it was September, it feels like that. So we lack some routine, some automatic behaviour. For the circumstances we’re in and the circumstances that is not our fault. I am happy where the team is and how we behave.

“There is no need to doubt the process or doubt the team. We will bounce back and never give in.”

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