Romelu Lukaku has opened up on his talks with Thomas Tuchel and his leadership style following the forward’s record-breaking return to Chelsea.
Chelsea completed the £97.5m club record signing of Lukaku from Inter Milan last week, with the Belgium international returning to the west London side seven years after leaving the Blues for Everton.
The 28-year-old signed for Chelsea as a teenager from Anderlecht but made just 15 goalless appearances, spending time on loan with West Brom and Everton before signing for the latter on a permanent basis.
Lukaku has since developed into one of the most prolific forwards in European football and the summer signing insists he has returned to Chelsea as a more ‘complete’ player.
“I just feel more complete,” he told Chelseafc.com. “I’ve tried to master all the facets that a striker needs and I just want to keep improving on the small details all the time and keep improving on my strengths as well.
“I just want to try to help the team win and be available for the manager as well as for my team-mates. I want to make sure that they feel comfortable and they can lean on me in whatever situation we’re in.”
“I’m a leader but I’m also more of a gel person, making sure that everybody feels comfortable and confident,” he added. “That’s the way I lead. When I was at Inter and when I’ve been captain of the national team, I make sure that everybody is confident and knows what they have to do.
“When there’s a difficult moment in the game, they can lean on me and I’ll always be encouraging my team-mates, never being down on them or barking at them. I try to stay positive and make sure that we win the game because that’s always the most important thing.”
Lukaku also discussed the importance of his conversations with Tuchel ahead of a return to the Premier League, revealing how the German views the summer signing as a ‘leader’ of his emerging side.
“Yes, of course! The conversation was really clear from him, that he wants me to be a presence and a leader in the team. I have to just use all my abilities to make sure I can help the team as much as possible.
“My role will depend on what the game plan is and what the boss wants me to do. If he wants me to be a focal point or if he wants me to attack the spaces in behind, I can do it. The two years in Italy helped me master all the facets of the game for a striker and now I’m ready.
“I like the system that we play and I’m very flexible. I can play as a two or by myself and I’m used to the system because it’s what we play with the Belgian national team so I don’t need much time to adapt. It’s just knowing the strengths of my team-mates in important positions and knowing what we do off the ball, then I can do the rest.”
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