Thomas Tuchel gives pointed response after Romelu Lukaku struggles

Chelsea managed to secure a last-gasp 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday to keep themselves in the title race – but it wasn’t a good afternoon for Romelu Lukaku.

Hakim Ziyech scored an 89th-minute winner for the Blues, who will move to 10 points behind leaders Manchester City if they win their game in hand.

Thomas Tuchel‘s side had to withstand some early pressure from the hosts, but came close when Antonio Rudiger‘s fierce long-range effort forced a good save from Vicente Guaita.

The Spaniard then made another important save to deny N’Golo Kante, before Wilfried Zaha was inches away from the opening goal at the other end.

But it was Ziyech who popped up with the winner. He met Marcos Alonso’s floated cross on the volley and guided it into the bottom left corner.

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Lukaku has a day to forget

However, despite Chelsea’s jubilation, the Premier League struggles of Romelu Lukaku continued.

The Blues signed the Belgian striker from Inter Milan for a club-record fee of £97.5 million in the summer. Thomas Tuchel described him as the “perfect” signing.

Lukaku was hugely impressive on debut against Arsenal. He bullied central defenders Pablo Mari and Rob Holding for 90 minutes, deservedly getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win. After a blank gameweek against Liverpool, he scored twice against Aston Villa.

Since September 11, however, he has netted just twice in the Premier League. Those goals came in consecutive games against Villa and Brighton in December.

The Belgian hit top form in the recent Club World Cup, which Chelsea won. He scored in both of their wins over Al-Hilal and Palmeiras.

But he still cannot replicate that consistently in the Premier League. In the first half against Crystal Palace, he had just two touches of the ball. One of those was to kick off the match.

It wasn’t much better for him in the second half. The Belgian recorded five touches, taking his match tally up to seven. It is the lowest figure for a single player since data records of this particular statistic began in 2003/04.

Thomas Tuchel reacts to Romelu Lukaku performance

Thomas Tuchel
Image Credit: Getty

Asked about the performance of Romelu Lukaku after the win over Palace, Thomas Tuchel responded to beIN Sports: “No, no, it’s not the system. Well, it is what it is. But it is for him no change of system because it is the same attacking structure.

“We always attack in a 4-1; it’s just for a build-up. Sometimes we build up in a 3-2 and sometimes in a 4-1. For him, it changed nothing.”

In his press conference, he continued: “I’m not so sure if I have a good answer for your question [why he struggled]. I don’t know. Obviously, he was not involved and could not make a point today. I’m not sure if it says so much about us in general.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty