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16 May 2022

Thomas Tuchel insists Romelu Lukaku’s agent talks with new owner no distraction

Thomas Tuchel insists Romelu Lukaku’s agent talks with new owner no distraction

Thomas Tuchel has insisted Romelu Lukaku’s agent seeking talks with Chelsea’s new owners will not prove an FA Cup final distraction.

Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello told Italian press he will aim for talks with Chelsea’s prospective new owner Todd Boehly, once the US magnate’s takeover is complete.

Lukaku has appeared unsettled at Chelsea ever since admitting in a Sky Italia interview in late December that he was unhappy at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium striker apologised for those comments and has fought to rebuild his position at Chelsea ever since, and is now the Blues’ top goalscorer with 15 strikes in all competitions.

Lukaku has fired three goals in his last two Chelsea outings, but will be battling to start Saturday’s FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.

Tuchel remained calm about the wider situation though, ahead of the Liverpool battle.

“If he plans to talk with the owner maybe it’s not his plan to talk with me, so fair enough,” said Tuchel.

“Let’s see if he gets a meeting and he can get to talk, that’s his right.

“We will talk to anybody, to any party and we will evaluate any situation of any player, including Romelu’s.

“And then we will see what happens and what pans out.

“I just was aware of it five, 10 minutes ago actually.

“That’s what it is sometimes in football, the attention is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don’t want to have before big matches. But that’s the way it is.

“For me it’s not a distraction and hopefully for everybody who works for the team, and the player himself also.”

Tuchel’s striker selection decision appears likely to come down to a straight choice between Lukaku and Germany forward Kai Havertz for the central role.

Asked if the two could both start however, Tuchel replied: “I can also play both although they lack a bit of a feeling of a perfect fit together.

“So its’ very likely that it’s one of the two, but we will not give the line-up today.

“But listen, Romelu played lately and scored lately and did everything to stay on the pitch. So it will be our final call tomorrow morning.”

Chelsea lost February’s Carabao Cup final to Liverpool only on the finest of margins, 11-10 in a penalty shoot-out that ended with the goalkeepers striking on goal themselves.

Caoimhin Kelleher lashed his home for the Reds before Kepa Arrizabalaga missed, to hand Jurgen Klopp’s men the trophy.

Tuchel refused to say whether he would opt again to send Kepa on in the final stages should penalties start to loom, as in the League Cup showdown.

And the German boss insisted Chelsea practise penalties all season long, so have not needed to add any extra sessions this week.

Asked if he would bring Kepa off the bench again if penalties were in the offing, Tuchel replied: “I will not tell you, I have an opinion about it, but I will not tell you. When it comes we will see.

“But anyway, we always say let’s wait for the match, let’s see how the game goes, let’s see if we have a change still available and if it’s even right.

“It’s never done before, and it will not be done now. But we have a plan for it, what we can do.

“About practising, I’m a bit torn, in between if you can practise it and how much you can practise it.

“My players shoot a lot of penalties during the season, I have to say, on an almost daily basis.

“Though not too much in the week of the final, it’s not like everybody suddenly starts to shoot 10 penalties a day.

“It’s more or less like one, two penalties a day, through the season.

“Which is in my opinion good to have a certain routine, and to have a certain routine for the players.

“But maybe to shoot tomorrow, after 120 minutes of intense fight and full stadium and the pressure’s on, it’s a different story. You cannot train for that.

“But there are some techniques and of course some routines you can dig into, and this is of course what we do, but over a long period of time.”

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