Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel defends Romelu Lukaku over criticism of Man City loss
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insisted Romelu Lukaku was not to blame for their 1-0 loss to Manchester City and said he would question his own tactics after suffering his first loss of the Premier League season.
Gabriel Jesus’ strike in the 53rd minute settled a City-dominated contest at Stamford Bridge with Lukaku an isolated number for long stretches, registering just 21 touches all afternoon – the fewest players in one or the other starting formation.
Chelsea signed Lukaku from Inter Milan for € 115million this summer to help them mount a serious title challenge, but he failed to score again against his two main rivals – City and Liverpool.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN + (US only)
– ESPN + spectator guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more
– Ogden: Man City beat Chelsea as teams battle agitators
However, Tuchel said Lukaku suffered from a lack of service rather than a personal shortfall.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about Romelu’s struggle today,” he said.
“When we got to Romelu the attack was already half over as there weren’t enough people and there was just no belief and connection. It was a team issue, not an individual problem. “
Chelsea failed to save a shot on target the entire game as City took control by dominating possession.
With Mason Mount out due to a blow, Tuchel opted to leave Kai Havertz on the bench in favor of a more defensive three-way midfielder made up of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho – the triumvirate that helped Chelsea to beat Tottenham last weekend.
However, Chelsea were oddly passive until Havertz was presented with 30 minutes remaining.
“We can argue endlessly and you will never have the answers. We decided for the 5-3-2, I don’t think it’s a question of structure against City, it’s a question of decisions, of adaptation to the opponent’s spaces, where you can find the spaces, ”Tuchel said.
“We tried to have more connections in the build. We’re in it together. We win together and we lose together and I’m going to ask myself, ‘was this the right form?’ But I don’t know if the shape was decisive for the result.
“I think we ran out of cool today. Kante has been ill for a few days and I decided to let him start.
“Jorginho had some problems and Thiago [Silva] couldn’t start, so maybe today it’s up to me not to have made the best choices in that direction. “