Thomas Tuchel has been “very surprised” by Romelu Lukaku’s recent good form for Chelsea after the striker’s injury issues.
The Belgium international has scored three goals in his last four matches since returning from injury and completely transformed the Blues when he came on as subsitute in their recent 3-1 victory at Aston Villa.
He scored again when Chelsea faced Brighton last night in a 1-1 draw and Tuchel couldn’t hide his relief that his main striker is back fit and firing.
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“I’m surprised what he’s doing,” Tuchel said. “Actually very surprised, but I don’t know how long he can do it. We will try it and then we will see because nobody knows.
“I’m surprised because he was six weeks, eight weeks out, then when was trying to come back caught Covid and after that one training and let’s go. This is what we do at the moment.”
Asked whether Chelsea could still win the title, Tuchel added: “How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”
“We knew it would be a tough match against a strong side.”
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Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was disappointed that the Blues didn’t take their chances against Brighton as they slipped eight points behind Manchester City.
“It’s really disappointing,” Azpilicueta told the club’s official website. “Of course, we had chances to kill the game. They also had the chances. We left them alive and of course in the last minute to concede a goal and drop two points is very frustrating. We are not happy at all.
“We knew Brighton make things difficult and we know they would press us high, and they would leave us big chances also for us, so we catch them in a few quick attacks where we could have been more clinical.
“They also had a few chances. They play good football and we had to cope again with two injuries at half-time and you know, that leaves us in a bad position. It is not an excuse, we worked hard, and we were close to the three points.”
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