Thomas Tuchel praises ‘world-class’ Romelu Lukaku after narrow Chelsea win

Thomas Tuchel praised Romelu Lukaku’s “world-class” conversion rate of chances after Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League win over Zenit St Petersburg.

Lukaku buried captain’s suspended cross Cesar Azpilicueta with a perfect header to get Chelsea out of a tough encounter and secure a vital victory at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues started their Champions League defense with a slim victory in Group H which owed it all to Lukaku who surrendered his only goal on goal.

Chelsea manager Tuchel has charged the price for the £ 98million summer rookie, who already has four goals for the Blues this quarter.

“Azpi’s cross was very, very good and dangerous, and difficult to defend,” Tuchel said.

“The target was the far post, for Romelu, and Kai (Havertz) was also there. It was the opening goal and at the same time decisive, which is very, very good for us of course.

“We haven’t created a lot of chances for Romelu, but he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t lose his confidence and that’s why he’s here; and that is why he is a world class striker.

“It’s super hard and super important to be able to do that. It’s that simple. You don’t find a lot of forwards of this quality.

“The guys who are there to score and who score really consistently are so, so important. There aren’t many goals in football and the goal changes the whole momentum of the game.

“It gives the whole team the conviction that one chance is enough. It is more than just a talent that he brings; it brings belief and it takes the pressure off the shoulders of others.

“He has the personality not to get impatient or lose confidence. He does what he does and we are very happy that he is with us. “

Chelsea may have sometimes worked against the low block of Zenit and the impressive organization of the Russian team.

But Tuchel’s team have always found their way to victory, with Lukaku once again the real talisman striker every inch.

The 28-year-old has already comfortably justified Chelsea’s high fees to Inter Milan for his services, with boss Tuchel contenting himself with his side’s overall performance in West London.

“I’m happy with the performance in general, a tough game against a strong opponent,” said Tuchel.

“It was difficult for us in the first half to find small gaps to speed up the game and be dangerous in the box and create touches in the box. But we played at high intensity, we had a lot of recoveries from ball.

“We had to be very focused and aware in defense because they have a lot of individual quality. In the second half, we found it a little easier to find spaces between the lines, to create chances, half chances.

“I find us very competitive, we know how to deal with difficulties during matches. I liked what I saw today because I felt the energy, the effort and he was a strong opponent. “

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