Tuchel: Lukaku comments are surprising and unhelpful but we won’t overreact

In today’s press conference with Thomas Tuchel ahead of the Liverpool game, most of the questions put to the boss were about Romelu Lukaku’s comments that came to light last night.

An interview the striker had conducted with Sky Sport in Italy earlier this month was widely quoted, with many interpreting his words as evidence Lukaku was unhappy at Chelsea and in Tuchel’s system, and was already thinking about a return to Inter Milan.

‘We don’t like it because it brings noise we don’t need and it’s not helpful,’ said Tuchel.

‘On the other side, we don’t want to make more out of it than it is. It’s very easy to take lines out of context, to shorten lines and make headlines, and later realise it’s not so bad and maybe not what he meant.

‘But to be honest I don’t like it because it’s noise we don’t need. We need a calm environment and focus and it does not help.’

Tuchel was then asked if he had spoken to Lukaku about his perceived unhappiness.

‘No, not at all. I don’t feel him unhappy. I feel the exact opposite. If you asked me yesterday morning I would say I feel the exact opposite, which is why it’s a surprise, but I’m the wrong person to ask.

‘We will [discuss it], and we will do it behind closed doors and we will do it openly like the relationship is and has always been.

‘It’s not necessary for the dressing room to always be in harmony to be successful,’ added Tuchel. ‘You don’t have to hug each other, love each other every single day. Sometimes it’s good to be on the edge.

‘With Romelu, I don’t think anybody in this building is aware he is unhappy. That’s what makes us very surprised. So first of all we need to check. I can see no reason why it should be like this. I will wait to see what Romelu says and then we will deal with it.’

When it comes to the headlines Lukaku’s quotes have garnered, Tuchel reemphasised the importance of understanding their true meaning before drawing major conclusions.

‘It’s very easy to take lines out of context to get the best out of these interviews for several days. If it’s an interview with an important player, I totally understand the process, and that’s what there is a lot of noise, not only a little bit of noise.

‘Today’s world is today’s world. Everything you say is out there in public. If you are a big player like Romelu, and he is an experienced player, he surely knows what kind of value he has when he speaks out with messages like this.

‘It’s a lot of extra noise, but we are not just here to read the headlines. We here can take the time to try to understand what is going on because it does not reflect the daily work, the daily attitude, the daily behaviour Romelu shows here at Cobham.’

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