"Stupid to think Chelsea in title race": Thomas Tuchel
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Graeme Souness launched a scathing attack on Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku after controversial comments made on his future surfaced this week. The Belgian was subsequently dropped by boss Thomas Tuchel for the Blues’ crunch clash with Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Lukaku’s return to Chelsea was met with excitement and anticipation after the club thrashed out a club-record £98million summer transfer with Inter Milan.
Having left the Blues in 2014 after failing to make his mark, the 28-year-old claimed that he could not turn down the opportunity to return to the side he supported as a child.
A twisted ankle in October and then Covid put an end to his promising start, however, seeing him sidelined until recently.
And just as the frontman looked to be regaining momentum with goals against Brighton and Aston Villa, his eyebrow-raising comments to Sky Sports Italia have reportedly left those at Chelsea infuriated.
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Lukaku claimed that he was not happy with his situation in west London, on top of suggesting that he would be open to a return to Inter in the near future.
As fans and pundits weigh up the contentious comments, Souness pulled no punches in his evaluation, demanding that the striker apologises to his team-mates.
“This guy has more than crossed a line,” the Scot told Sky Sports. “He has to apologise to his team-mates. It’s so offside it begs belief. He has got to stand in front of his mates and say it.”
While fellow Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher agreed that an apology was in order, he questioned Tuchel’s decision to omit the big-money arrival from such an important clash.
“I think if it was Steven Gerrard or Luis Suarez, and they had apologised going into a big game, I would still want them in my team,” he claimed.
Souness added: “I think he’s come back, he’s not gone straight into the team, he’s unhappy and he’s come out with the nonsense he’s come out with.
“He’s totally disrespectful. Part of the reason is he’s 29, he’s not 18. He should know better that this statement damages the football club enormously.
“It’s like walking into the dressing room and saying to the other 25 guys, ‘I don’t want to play with you anymore’.
“I know what I’d be like, if you don’t fancy it here there’s the door, on you go. It damages the manager.”
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Tuchel was openly critical of his striker’s interview this week, which prompted speculation as to how Lukaku would be dealt with.
Being dropped from Sunday’s squad was yet more evidence that the comments have not been well received at Stamford Bridge, and it remains to be seen whether further punishment is on its way.
“To be honest I don’t like it because it’s noise we don’t need,” he said. “We need a calm environment and focus and it does not help.
“We can take the time to try to understand what is going on because it does not reflect the daily work, the daily attitude, the daily behaviour Romelu shows here.
“We will [talk to Lukaku] and we will do it behind closed doors and we will do it openly like I think the relationship is and has always been.”
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