Romelu Lukaku caught everyone by surprise with his secret interview that was released late last week, but having had time to reflect on it and talk things out, the reaction to it appears to have been (unsurprisingly, in the age of social media) fairly overblown.
At least that’s the narrative we’re going with from a Chelsea perspective — which is also the only reasonable and useful narrative if we are to go forward with our record signing.
Having now cleared the air, we can move on together.
“We were happy that we took the time needed to talk calmly on it. [He] apologised and he is back in the squad for today’s training. For me, the most important thing was to clearly understand and believe that this was not intentional [...] there was never a slightest behaviour against the team.
“This was the first time we felt him this way so it is very important to understand and stay calm and understand that it is not as big as you think or people want it to be. It is not small. It is small enough to stay calm, accept an apology and move on forwards.
“[It] was in a very, very bad moment in front of a big game. So we protected the game and now we’ve had enough time to clear the air and move on.”
“[...] Of course he should have known better, that is why we have to clear the air together but as we answer all of those questions with a clear ‘no’ we have to be adult enough and mature enough to accept an apology and do everything now together to clear the air, have a clear head to prepare for the upcoming matches.
The interview created some obvious questions about Lukaku’s commitment to the team and desire to actually play for Chelsea, but Tuchel’s satisfied that our prodigal son is indeed ready to remain fully committed to finding success at Chelsea and fulfill his destiny just as it was preordained all those years ago.
“Before that interview, I never had the slightest doubt that he wasn’t committed. Off the pitch and in his private life, he was always going in the same direction. He is an emotional guy who doesn’t hold back his opinion. Sometimes he carries his heart on his tongue and it is like this. [But] there are zero doubts on his commitment to the team and the club.”
“Of course he was not happy, he’s here to help the team, and he was not happy because he was injured then had Covid. He wants to score for us, he wants to make us successful and he’s a huge competitor and that’s pretty much it.
“I don’t see any misunderstanding in communication. We talk a lot, we share our opinions a lot. That’s why I was very surprised and still am, because in the dialogue with Romelu we’re on the same page and want the same things. He’s our number nine and I can’t say more than that.”
“[Romelu] speaks out very openly, not only just in the media but in the dressing room, in talks with me and we should also appreciate it. That was maybe a bit too open, in one direction that people and clubs and supporters could be offended, but it was good that we took our time and we can move on now.”
-Thomas Tuchel: source: Football.London