Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said “it is not the time to laugh about” Romelu Lukaku after the £97.5m striker’s recent struggles. Lukaku only touched the ball seven times in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, the lowest number any player has managed in a 90-minute Premier League appearance since at least 2003, when that data was first recorded.
“He’s in the spotlight and we’ll protect him. Romelu will always be part of the solution,” Tuchel said. “Sometimes it’s like this with strikers if they struggle a little bit with self-confidence and to find the space to get involved with a good defensive side. “Of course it’s not what we want and what Romelu wants but it’s also not the time to laugh about him and make jokes about him.”
Chris Sutton, who scored one goal in 28 games for Chelsea in 1999-2000, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club: “I think at the weekend he hid. “He’s lacking confidence – he looks like an unhappy player. He could do so much more for the team.”