Thomas Tuchel tips ‘unique’ Romelu Lukaku to complete Chelsea jigsaw

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Thomas Tuchel has tipped Romelu Lukaku to harness his “unique” goalscoring abilities as the missing piece of Chelsea’s attacking jigsaw.

Lukaku is expected to feature in Sunday’s Premier League trip to Arsenal, following his £98million switch from Inter Milan.

Manager Tuchel is keenly awaiting the 28-year-old’s second Chelsea debut, backing the powerful Belgium hitman to impose his big personality on the Premier League.

“Is Romelu the missing piece? Well we hope so, but at the same time we try to find solutions for any questions that are asked during games,” said Tuchel.

“And we want to still be a strong squad and a squad that comes from a team effort.

“And Romelu is that kind of personality and profile that we were missing up front. And from now it’s our job to push that to the limit.

“We have one more training to go, but the week was a heavy load for him because he was in the group with the late starters from our guys.

“But we are hoping he’s on the pitch for Sunday and things look like that will happen.

“I think he’s unique; from his physicality, from his ability to play with the back to goal. But for me he’s at his strongest when he’s in the half-open, open position even for transition gain, to use his immense speed.

Chelsea v Villarreal – UEFA Super Cup – Windsor Park
Thomas Tucjhel, pictured, is excited about Romelu Lukaku’s impact at Chelsea (Niall Carson/PA)

“He’s a very nice guy, which is very nice to see for us. Everybody told us about it and everybody was right.

“We are a good group and it’s very important for us to be a good group, a respectful group and a very democratic group where everyone is involved and shares the responsibility.

“This is a great situation for us so let’s hope it stays so positive.”

Lukaku fired 24 goals in driving Inter to the Serie A title last term, benefiting greatly from Antonio Conte whipping him into supreme physical condition.

Belgium’s all-time top scorer has taken the number nine shirt on his Stamford Bridge return, with Tuchel admitting goals are his main commodity.

“Of course we should expect goals, let’s not talk around it and he himself expects goals; this is why he’s here,” said Tuchel.

“But I’m absolutely convinced he will have very positive impacts on Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, and will maybe open spaces and attract the focus from the defenders.

“So let’s see how we will measure it in the end. But we demand and he demands goals from him.

“I’m getting to know him better and better and we will maybe set a clear target later in the season.”

Tuchel confirmed the academy graduate defender will not be sent on loan, instead having a major chance to stake his claim for a long-term first-team future.

Chalobah impressed in the Super Cup win over Villarreal, then backed up that showing with a long-range strike against Palace.

“I think he had a fantastic pre-season with us, he’s a very good player and even more important a top character,” said Tuchel.

“He has both feet on the ground, he took his chance very impressively, he played very good matches in pre-season, he performed for 120 minutes against Villareal and then another strong 90 minutes against Crystal Palace.

“So now I think it’s very logical that he stays with us, and he’s looking for his chance here.

“We let some players go but Trevoh is a guy we absolutely want to keep, and this is the status for him.

“We had a talk yesterday, and I think his situation was he went out on loans, he had the loans he needed to develop, but now is a good moment to stay with us and be part of the group.

“And to take further steps towards fulfilling his dream which is to be part of a strong Chelsea squad, which he is at the moment.

“We trust him, this is not a gift, this is what he deserves.”

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