Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel holds ‘positive talks’ with Romelu Lukaku with return date set

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has held ‘positive talks’ with striker Romelu Lukaku after excluding the striker as punishment for his blockbuster interview with Sky Italia, according to reports. Lukaku seemed to criticise Tuchel’s tactics and flirted with a return to Inter Milan in an interview that was not sanctioned by the Blues. 

It is understood that the interview, which aired on New Year’s Eve, was conducted in mid-December and was arranged to provide Lukaku an opportunity to communicate with Inter’s fanbase. 

The Belgium international wanted to apologise for the way he departed the San Siro to join Chelsea in a £97.5million summer transfer. However, in doing so, he has angered supporters of the West Londoners. 

“After two years in Italy, in which I worked a lot at Inter with trainers and nutritionists, I am physically fine. But I’m not happy with the situation [at Chelsea], I think this is normal,” Lukaku said. 

“I think the coach [Tuchel] has chosen to play with another system – I just won’t give up, I’ll continue and be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am worker and I must not give up.” 

He added: “I think everything that happened was not supposed to happen like this. How I left Inter, how I communicated with the fans…even when I left it was not the right time. 

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“Now I think it is right to speak because I have always said that I have Inter in my heart, I will return to play there, I really hope so. 

“I am in love with Italy, this is rightly the time to talk and let people know what really happened without talking badly about people because I am not like that. 

“I want to say a big apology to the Inter fans because I think the way I left should have been different.” 

Lukaku was dropped from the Chelsea team as they drew 2-2 with Liverpool on Sunday. Tuchel’s side came back from 2-0 down to draw with their Premier League title rivals.

Tuchel revealed that he had spoken to the forward and would hold further talks on Monday.  

The Guardian claim that those talks ended positively and that Lukaku is in line to return to the team when they clash with Tottenham in the EFL Cup.  

Chelsea host Spurs on Wednesday in the first leg of the semi-final, with the second leg taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium the following week. 

Tuchel was firm in his stance that the club were not happy with Lukaku’s interview but seemed to suggest that it was out of character. 

Indeed, various reports have said that Lukaku’s future at the club is retrievable.

“I will not try to tell you we were happy about it,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.  

“To speak out these things as a big player, a big signing and a key player who behaves on a daily basis like he is absolutely happy – then it’s a concern. 

“It’s very surprising. We need to speak to him and he needs to speak to us. It’s very hard to understand based on how he behaves on a daily basis.” 

Lukaku has scored seven goals in 18 appearances for Chelsea this season. 

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