Romelu Lukaku says it is up to him to “restore trust” after making a public apology to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, his teammates and the club’s supporters over his recent interview.
Tuchel confirmed on Tuesday that Lukaku is in contention to return for Chelsea in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham, having stood down the club-record signing down for Sunday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool.
In an interview aired by Sky in Italy, Lukaku said he was not happy with the situation at Chelsea and indicated he had issues with Tuchel’s style of play.
“To the fans, I’m sorry for the upset that I caused,” Lukaku said in an interview with the club website.
“You guys know the connection that I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset.”
“Obviously, it’s up to me now to restore your trust and I’ll do my best to show commitment every day on the training ground and in the games, trying to make sure that we win games.”
“And also to the manager, I apologise, and also to my team-mates and the board, because I think it was not the right moment also and I want to move forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and that I perform for the team in the best manner.”
Tuchel held clear-the-air talks with Lukaku on Monday, and said the striker feels responsible and determined to “clean the mess up”. The Chelsea head coach confirmed his club-record £97.5m signing is back in the squad for training ahead of the visit of Spurs.
“First of all, we were even in the background happy that we took the time that it needed to look calmly on it and talk calmly,” Tuchel said.
“He has apologised and is back in the squad for today’s training [session] later.”
“We have had enough time to clear the air and move on.”
“For me, the most important thing was to understand and clearly understand and believe that it was not intentional.”
“He did not do this intentionally to create noise in front of such a big game.”
Tuchel praised the “close relationship” he has with the Chelsea board after smoothing over the Lukaku drama and revealed that the Belgium international will be fined for taking part in the interview.
Chelsea managers always come off worse amid disharmony with the board, but Tuchel has forged robust links with directors Petr Cech and Marina Granovskaia.
Now that hard work and cooperative spirit appear to have borne fruit, with Tuchel receiving vindication for his strong stance.
“There will be some discipline actions,” said Tuchel.
“Something happened, he will be fined and of course, he needs to accept it.”
“It’s not about I push my opinions through or the club pushes their opinions through. We are adults and we reflect the situation.”
“The more the story went on, I had a clear opinion and I was happy that was OK with the club to go with it.”
“We have a very open, close relationship and we can find very quick solutions, without any political interference, putting any disturbing factor aside and just looking at the isolated issue. We went from there.”
“It was very nice to be a part of it. Between Petr, Marina and me, it was very calm, quick and open.”
While Tuchel is happy to have Lukaku back in contention for selection, the German coach also insisted the former Inter Milan striker must now take responsibility himself to resolve the commotion.
He added, “Maybe we will have a bit of smell still from it of course. He can handle it, but he also has no other choice.”
“He cannot expect everybody to be super happy the very next day.”
“But he’s still our player and we have good, good reasons and a lot of reasons to make him play for us, and to convince him and to fight hard that he’s our player. We’re happy he’s our player, we will protect him.”
Courtesy: Sky Sports