Thomas Tuchel claims Romelu Lukaku’s struggles in front of goal for Chelsea this season are down to a lack of fitness.
Lukaku has scored just five goals in the Premier League this term after his big-money return to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan.
Kai Havertz is ahead of him in the pecking order to lead the line, meaning Lukaku has been reduced to subsitute appearances in recent weeks and months.
And Tuchel claims the Belgium international needs to find a “spark” to ignite his Chelsea career after a series of injuries and COVID-19.
“All he needs is that spark. He maybe would’ve been a natural starter against Crystal Palace given the minutes Kai [Havertz] has played,” Tuchel said.
“But after a period of injury he lacked the fitness for matches. I don’t point the finger at him, it’s just a fact… Romelu should have had a goal against Real Madrid and Crystal Palace, but if he plays we need all that he has.”
Another Chelsea star who’s been out of the team in recent times is Trevoh Chalobah.
The academy graduate has featured in 25 matches across all competitions under Tuchel this season having had spells on loan at Ipswich, Huddersfield and Lorient, but hasn’t played for over a month.
And Tuchel says his absence has been down to a “little dip in form” but said he would see minutes in the coming games.
Ahead of the clash with Arsenal on Wednesday, Tuchel said: “Maybe he feels these decisions are against him but they are for other players. We had Reece James playing in this position because of his physicality and speed.
“Trevoh played a very good season so far. He had a little dip of form some weeks ago but he had good weeks of training now. He had a talk but I haven’t been able to show him with minutes.
“We have Thiago [Silva] in shape, Andreas playing, Reece in these positions. He is training excellently and this is what we demand of him. He will see it with minutes in the next matches.”