Lukaku's unhappy comments 'not helpful'

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Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku's comments about being dissatisfied with life at the club are unhelpful, manager Thomas Tuchel says.

Lukaku, who joined Chelsea from Italian champions Inter Milan in August, told Sky Italy that he was unhappy with Tuchel's system while also admitting he would like to return to Italy at some point in his career.

The Belgium striker has scored seven times in a season hampered by injury and Covid-19, claiming three goals in his last four appearances.

"After two years in Italy, in which I worked a lot at Inter with trainers and nutritionists, I am physically fine," Lukaku said in the interview.

"But I'm not happy with the situation, this is normal. I think the coach has chosen to play with another system, I just have to not give up and continue to work and be a professional.

"I am not happy with the situation, but I am a worker and I must not give up."

Tuchel attempted to play the matter down.

"We don't like it of course. It brings noise that we don't need and it's not helpful," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Chelsea's big home match against Liverpool on Sunday. "But we don't want to make more out of it than it actually is.

"It is easy to take lines out of context, shorten lines, make headlines and then realise later that it is not so bad.

"We can take the time to try and understand what is going on because it does not reflect the daily work, attitude and behaviour which Romelu shows here at Cobham. If there is something to discuss it's behind closed doors, for sure."

Tuchel also gave updates on Ben Chilwell, who had surgery this week after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November, and fellow full back Reece James, who was injured in the midweek clash at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.

"(Chilwell) of course had surgery and has our best wishes. Hope he comes back as soon as possible. Unfortunately it seems like the season is over for him," Tuchel said.

"Reece has a hamstring injury, muscle, with always the examination a bit later. The images are better if we wait. We will know more today."

Tuchel added that Chelsea's struggles with COVID-19, injuries and refereeing decisions had hurt morale in the squad.

"Very disappointed, angry. Angry on the situation, result, referee decisions," Tuchel said.

"We have the feeling we invest a lot, we squeeze and squeeze the lemon, but it is like squeezing the same lemon over and over again and expecting fresh juice."

Chelsea, who are in second spot eight points adrift of Manchester City, face third-placed Liverpool on Sunday with the Anfield club a point behind Tuchel's side with a game in hand.

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