Thomas Tuchel has hailed the strength of his “close relationship” with Chelsea’s board and confirmed Romelu Lukaku will be fined for his recent controversial interview.
Club-record signing Lukaku apologised for revealing his unhappiness at Chelsea in an interview released last Thursday but conducted three weeks prior.
The £98-million summer recruit was omitted from Sunday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool, but is now back in training and in contention for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Tottenham.
Tuchel believes Lukaku did not intend to cause such widespread damage and is determined to “clean the mess up”, but also lifted the lid on his tight-knit working relationship with Chelsea’s board.
Chelsea managers always come off worse amid disharmony with the board, but Tuchel has forged robust links to directors Petr Cech and Marina Granovskaia.
And now that hard work and cooperative spirit appears to have borne fruit, with Tuchel receiving vindication for his strong stance.
“There will be some discipline actions, of course, and he will accept it; what happened, happened,” said Tuchel.
“It’s not a small thing but it’s not the biggest thing. And it does not make a comeback impossible, absolutely not. This is what we’ve proved now.
“Something happened, he will be fined and, of course, he needs to accept it.
“It’s not about I push my opinions through or the club pushes their opinions through, we are adults and we reflect the situation.
“The more the story went on I had a clear opinion and I was happy that was OK with the club to go with it.
“And I had a feeling it was really OK, as I also spoke to the other players.
“We have a very open, close relationship and we can find very quick solutions, without any political interference, putting every disturbing factor aside and just looking at the issue isolated on the moment and from there we went.
“And it was very nice to be a part of it. Between Petr, Marina and me it was very calm, very quick and very open.”
Lukaku told Sky Sport Italy in an interview broadcast last Thursday: “I’m not happy with the situation [at Chelsea] and that’s only natural.”
The former Inter Milan striker had however told ESPN Brazil on Boxing Day that he and Tuchel had sorted out their differences, having aimed for a “multidimensional” role with the Blues.
Tuchel and Chelsea were blindsided by both the interview and Lukaku’s comments, and the Blues boss opted to omit the Belgian from Sunday’s key Liverpool clash.
Chelsea consider the matter now closed, however, with Lukaku having apologised to the club’s supporters in a video posted on the Blues’ website on Tuesday evening.
“First of all, we were even in the background happy that we took the time that it needed to look calmly on it and talk calmly,” said Tuchel.
“He apologised and is back in the squad for training. For me, the most important thing was to understand and clearly understand and believe that it was not intentional.
“He did not do this intentionally to create noise in front of such a big game. And it’s the very first time even he has behaved like this.
“He’s very aware of what happened, and what he created, and he feels the responsibility to clean the mess up.
“Maybe we will have a bit of smell still from it, of course. He can handle it, but he also has no other choice. He cannot expect everybody to be super happy the very next day.
“But he’s still our player, and we have good, good reasons and a lot of reasons to make him play for us, and to convince him and to fight hard that he’s our player. We’re happy he’s our player, we will protect him.
“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. We shouldn’t just blame him and point on the negative side of it.
“We have to adapt to it and it created some negative noise that we have to deal with. But there are zero doubts on his commitment to the team and the club.”
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