Tuchel reveals he had key Chelsea first-half fear against Arsenal, as Lukaku trait lauded

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel smiling in May 2021

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says that he felt concerned about his team’s energy during the first half of the convincing win over Arsenal.

The Blues continued their impressive start to the season with a dominant 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Romelu Lukaku enjoyed the perfect second debut for the visitors, netting after 15 minutes to set the tone for the afternoon. Right-back Reece James then netted after assisting Lukaku.

In the second half, Arsenal came back at Chelsea with a few threatening chances.

Overall, though, the reigning European champions managed the result out to go top of the table ahead of Liverpool, who beat Burnley on Saturday.

However, Tuchel told Sky Sports that he worried watching his side in the first half.

“I had the feeling in the first half we lacked a bit of sharpness and activity,” the German manager said.

“We got in some moments a bit passive. I think we had a long training week and we trained very, very hard, double sessions.

“So I got the feeling we were a bit leggy. In the second half, we overcame some minutes in the beginning and then we controlled it very very very good.

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“We created some chances, I think we deserved to win, but there’s still room to improve.”

Tuchel admitted before the game that he felt “curious” to see how Lukaku would perform. Indeed, the pair have never worked together before.

In his post-match assessment, Tuchel lauded the Belgian’s ability to bring other players into play, among other traits.

Tuchel lauds Lukaku, Chelsea display

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates

“I’m very happy with the way he has integrated already, he’s a very smart guy,” the manager said. “He likes to be in the group and he’s a very democratic leader, talks to everybody, very friendly and humble and totally competitive.

“He gives something to our game that we did not have so much. Protecting balls, to play very direct up front into the last line, you cannot start better than with a goal.

“I didn’t expect too much, I wanted to be open and watch him, see his strengths and his capability to adapt and link up between Kai [Havertz] and Mason [Mount] and this is what he did very, very good.

“The guys like to play with each other and from now on we can go into detail.”

Chelsea face Liverpool next in a crucial early-season clash between two of the Premier League’s frontrunners.

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