Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted Romelu Lukaku remains committed to the cause at Stamford Bridge despite the controversial interview to have dominated headlines of late.
The Belgian striker is back in the squad for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final with rivals Tottenham after sitting out the pulsating 2-2 home draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
Lukaku’s comments, in which he professed his love for former club Inter Milan and admitted frustration at the way he was being utilised by Tuchel, had led to media reports suggesting he was looking for a way out of the club less than six months after joining at club-record expense.
Speaking ahead of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge, however, Tuchel stressed that the 28-year-old did not mean to “put pressure on the coach” and vowed to “clean and clear the air together”.
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“Before the interview, I never had the slightest doubt he is not committed because his actions on the pitch, off the pitch and in his private life all go in the same direction,” Tuchel said.
“He is an emotional guy. He doesn’t hold back with his opinions and sometimes he carries his heart on his tongue.”
“Does this reflect the overall mood and attitude that he shows? Absolutely clear no. Was the intention to create trouble? Was the intention to leave the club? Was the intention to put pressure on the coach? Absolutely no. I cannot see it. Of course he should have known better. That’s what we have to clean and clear the air together.”