Tuchel names Chelsea duo that could fill Lukaku, Werner void

Date published: Thursday 21st October 2021 10:35 - Will Ford

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku limps off injured

Thomas Tuchel was impressed by the displays of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz from the bench against Malmo on Wednesday, as he prepares for a spell without Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

Lukaku suffered an ankle problem and Werner a hamstring injury to leave a cloud over Chelsea’s facile 4-0 Champions League win over Malmo at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho slotted two penalties, while Andreas Christensen and Kai Havertz delivered fine finishes as the Blues overwhelmed the limited Swedish outfit.

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Tuchel admitted however that the Blues will have to do without Lukaku and Werner for several weeks after their injuries – but the Stamford Bridge boss insisted he had made the right call to pitch both men into the midweek west London clash.

“If I knew what would happen beforehand I would not have done it but how can you know it before?” said Tuchel.

“It was necessary that Romelu was on the pitch. He started strong, I spoke to him about it, about mental fatigue carried around with him.

“But he’s our number nine and our reference up front. And the best thing for mental fatigue is a goal. We knew we could be the dominant team with Mason (Mount) and Timo around him and him as the reference up front.

“And I had the strong belief that he could turn things around in terms of scoring and being decisive.

“He was super strong in our start and did that. He took the foul to win the first penalty, so maybe without him it’s not 2-0. I don’t regret it because it’s not a muscle injury.

“It was the moment to give him confidence and let him play and I don’t regret it. These things can happen and it’s bad luck. Maybe I don’t know much more than anyone else about the injuries. Romelu twisted his ankle on the foul in the box, and Timo has a hamstring injury.

“It will take a while for both of them, and we will need more examinations to be precise. But they will be out for some matches.”

Chelsea had precious few problems in coasting past Jon Dahl Tomasson’s Swedish champions, barring their injury issues.

Hudson-Odoi and Havertz impressed in filling the void left by Lukaku and Werner.

And when asked whether the pair will now get more of an opportunity in the side, Tuchel replied: “They can prove a point now so we will have some games without Romelu and Timo so everyone is invited to join the race for minutes on the pitch.

“When they are on the pitch, they need to show their hunger and determination to be decisive and be in the box.

“This is how it is and they did it today but there’s still room to improve and on Saturday we need the same hunger and determination from whoever starts for us because we need goals to win matches. We need to find solutions without Romelu and Timo, that’s clear. Everyone will join the race to be decisive for us.”


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