Romelu Lukaku: Someone missed Chelsea as a ‘world class’ Belgian, says manager Thomas Tuchel | Football news

Thomas Tuchel said Romelu Lukaku was the type of player Chelsea lacked at the club as they continued their fine form with a game-winning game against Zenit on Tuesday.

Lukaku’s beautiful second-half header settled a tight case as Chelsea beat the Russians 1-0 on the opening night of their Champions League defense, the Belgian’s fourth goal in four appearances since returning to the club this summer.

Tuchel was full of superlatives for Lukaku after the game, and not just his performances on the pitch, with Chelsea undefeated this season and looking awfully strong.

The Chelsea head coach said: “Romelu’s performance has not been easy. We haven’t created a lot of chances for him, but he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t lose confidence and conviction. And that’s why he’s a world class striker.

Romelu Lukaku celebrates with Jorginho after scoring for Chelsea against Zenit
Lukaku celebrates with Jorginho; he now has seven games in six for club and country this season

“He’s super important, it’s that simple. You can’t find a lot of forwards of his quality.

“We also won without Romelu and produced results. But that was the type of profile we were missing, not just because of the talent but because of the personality. He’s such a humble guy, a great communicator in the locker room, and that creates a certain energy around him in the team of which we are proud and have what to have.

“The spirit and atmosphere of last year has taken us very far and it is important that we have it again. We have it with Romelu, he knows what the club is like.

“We have him and we are very happy because he gives confidence to everyone around him.”

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku directs the ball to score his side's first goal against Zenit
Lukaku has scored four goals in four Chelsea appearances

After scoring with four of his six shots on target this season, Tuchel said Lukaku’s clinical advantage gives the team and the crowd confidence that a goal is ahead.

“There aren’t many goals in football and goals change the momentum of the game. It gives the whole team the belief that one chance is enough for them to score. talent he brings, he brings conviction and relieves the pressure on the shoulders of the other guys around him.

“He has the personality to not lose confidence. He is at a very high level and we are very happy to have him with us.”

Despite being frustrated for long stretches by Zenit, Tuchel was pleased with the intensity of Chelsea’s performance, especially their strength in defense.

Antonio Rudiger was exceptional in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Zenit
Chelsea have now recorded 23 cleansheets since Thomas Tuchel arrived

It was yet another clean sheet for Tuchel’s side, their 23rd since taking office in January, which is more than any other team in the top five European leagues during that time.

“I’m generally happy with the performance. It was a tough game against a strong opponent. It was difficult for us in the first half to find small gaps, to speed up the game, to be dangerous and to create. touches in the ball surface.

“We played with high intensity and collected a lot of balls. We had to be focused and aware of our defense as they have a lot of individual quality up front.

“We did all of that and in the second half we found it easier to find spaces between the lines, to speed up, to create half chances, deliveries. And Azpi’s cross was good and dangerous. because he comes from a difficult place to defend. the surface. The target was the far post and Kai (Havertz) and Romelu were there. It was nice and at the same time a decisive goal which was very good for us. “

Chelsea’s last matches in the Champions League

September 29: Juventus (A) – kick off at 8 p.m.

October 20: Malmö (H) – kick off 8 p.m.

November 2: Malmö (A) – kick-off 5:45 p.m.

November 23: Juventus (H) – kick off 8 p.m.

December 8: Zenit (A) – kick-off 5:45 p.m.

And after?

Sunday September 19 4:00 p.m.

Kick-off at 4.30 p.m.

Chelsea travel to Tottenham in the Premier League on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 4.30pm, ahead of a Carabao Cup third round clash at home against Aston Villa on Wednesday 22 September at 7.45pm.

Their next Champions League match will take place at Juventus on Wednesday September 29 at 8 p.m. ET. Zenit welcomes Malmö the same day at 5.45 p.m.

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