Graeme Souness says Romelu Lukaku must apologize to his teammates after comments made in an interview led Thomas Tuchel to leave the striker from Chelsea for their massive Super Sunday clash with Liverpool.
In an interview with Sky Italia, recorded a few weeks ago but aired this week, Lukaku – who has just returned to starter after his injury and Covid – said he was unhappy with his role at the club and would like to return to Inter in the near future.
Sky Sports expert Souness described Lukaku’s decision to say those things as “ridiculous and harmful” and argued boss Thomas Tuchel for leaving the £ 97.5 million striker out, despite the enormity of the game. game, which could put an end to Chelsea’s hopes in the Premier League title race.
“You’re trying to understand how a player got to a stage where he came out with such a ridiculous and damaging statement,” Souness said.
“We have all played with players who need to train every day and play every week to get the best out of them. Lukaku is a powerful man, and he has been used sparingly by the manager.
“He’s physically big and strong and he has to play all the time to score goals. Wayne Rooney, I guess, had to be like that to get the best out of him. [Lukaku] he was frustrated at not coming back and not going straight to the team and came up with the nonsense he said.
“He was totally disrespectful. He’s 29 not 19 and he should know that. This damages the football team enormously. It’s like walking into a locker room and saying to the other guys, ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore.’
“It hurts the manager and he should say, ‘If you don’t like here, there is the door. Go ahead.’ The first thing I would do if I were Thomas Tuchel is I would tell Lukaku that he needs to apologize. He needs to stand in front of everyone in the locker room and apologize unreservedly.
“If he is not ready to come to me as a manager, I would come to him and speak honestly about whether he really meant it or if it was a mistake. If he doesn’t apologize, then he did the right thing. [in leaving him out].
“Tuchel scored and Lukaku more than crossed the line. He has to apologize to his teammates. He was so offside, unbelievable.”
Carragher: Lukaku has done this in every club he’s been to
Seasoned colleague Jamie Carragher agreed that Lukaku’s comments came from a dented ego, with the striker frustrated at not immediately returning to Chelsea’s starting eleven following his sacking.
However, Carragher says Lukaku arguing with people in clubs is becoming a recurring problem.
“The problem I have is that Lukaku has done it in every club he’s been to,” Carragher said. “He’s not shy about giving an interview and leaving some hints that he’s not 100% happy.
“He has had many clubs already during his career. This is a guy who scores many goals in every club he has been to. And he still does not leave in better condition. This is always a small problem: the interviews he gives.
“He is trying to curry favor with the Inter fans because he receives a lot of criticism from them.
“He came as the guy who can lead this team to the title. That’s what [Chelsea are] missing, a really great center forward. And he started the season really well. Then he got injured and Chelsea actually, in terms of the level of football they were playing, were slightly higher, and the team scored more goals when Lukaku was out.
“The fact that he didn’t get back to the team right away was a problem for him. But Tuchel is the manager of a group of players who were all very expensive, not just Lukaku. Let’s not forget Kai Havertz, who may take his place as a false nine – scored the winner in a European Cup final last season, costing £ 75m.
“There are a lot of great players at Chelsea. But he thought ‘I’m the main man at Chelsea’ and it didn’t quite materialize with the way he came back from injury.”
Tuchel supported the battle for player power
The move to eliminate Lukaku against Liverpool is bold with so much at stake and could prove costly for Tuchel if it leads Chelsea to lose the title race.
But Carragher says that despite Chelsea’s history of changing managers frequently, Tuchel may actually be in a stronger position than some of his predecessors, given his caliber and currently available alternatives – and that the club could back him up on Lukaku at long term.
“I admire what Mikel Arteta did with Aubameyang and somehow I admire what Thomas Tuchel did here,” he said.
“In the past [at Chelsea] the players have always won against the manager. Right now, I think in terms of the top managers of world football, I would say that they are missing.
“We have three in the Premier League: Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Tuchel. But look at the problems Man Utd are having right now in terms of the managerial situation. They don’t know who they’ll get at the end of the season or who’s out there yet. can compete with these three.
“Right now, for Chelsea, even though they have had great success changing coaches for the past 10-15 years, I think it might be easier to replace Lukaku than the coach they have. Class manager right now.”
The best thing Lukaku can do is stop giving interviews because that’s just a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad, bad.
Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has also been highly critical of Lukaku’s behavior and believes Tuchel’s firm line with the player is as much about showing the world Tuchel’s principles as the situation at Chelsea.
“Tuchel is making this decision for him [Tuchel]”, said Hasselbaink.” Forget Chelsea: that’s how they fare.
“He can get the Chelsea sack, but it’s about Thomas Tuchel. ‘These are my principles, that’s how I want my players to behave and I give them freedom and freedom and there are some things that I will accept and others I will not. I ‘don’t accept it’.
“The best thing Lukaku can do is stop giving interviews because it’s just a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad, bad. I like Romelu. I think he’s a great player. When he plays he gives Chelsea a different dimension. But that one. what he said and how he said it, I don’t understand.
“It’s okay to have the frustration that you’re not playing. And the way you react is to get into the Aston Villa game and make a difference.
“Spit your dummy out after four games and say you want to go back to Inter because they fixed you up when you came from Man Utd … If you really wanted to stay at Inter, say ” I’m not going to Chelsea, give me half of mine. salary and I’ll stay. ”Because we all know that he had to leave Inter because he was in financial difficulties.
“But now you are here and what he did is really disrespectful.”