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Tuchel unsure when Lukaku will return as he reveals he consulted with Chelsea players over dropping £98m striker

Thomas Tuchel says he is unsure when Romelu Lukaku will return to the Chelsea side and has revealed he consulted with the squad over his decision to drop the forward.

Lukaku was omitted from the Chelsea squad for the club’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, following the fall-out from the Belgian’s controversial interview with Sky Sports Italia in which the 28-year-old suggested at his unhappiness with life at Stamford Bridge.

 

Tuchel has discussed the decision to leave out the club-record signing against Liverpool and revealed that he spoke with senior figures in the dressing room over the correct form of action.

“I don’t take decisions in my office just circulating around my thoughts, I take decisions for the team and I have players to listen to, hear their opinion and what they think and then I take my decisions once I hear them out,” Tuchel said at his press conference after the game.

“It’s not a personal thing for me to decide because of my belief, we have a squad to protect with strong beliefs and strong values.

“It’s not Chelsea-like, but it’s also not the worst thing in the world. It’s not the first time an interview out there causes some noise nobody needs. But we can handle it. I don’t feel personally attacked.”

Lukaku’s comments included expressing an unhappiness with his current role, his admiration for former club Inter Milan, and a suggestion that Chelsea was not his first choice destination when leaving the San Siro last summer.

Tuchel admits the release of the interview saw Chelsea lose focus ahead of a crucial clash in the Premier League and remained coy on when Lukaku could potentially return to the fold.

“There were new statements and it got too big, too much noise and we lost totally the focus of the match,” said Tuchel.

“We wanted to protect Romelu from a rash decision because we need to speak with him, read the full interview and stay calm and not lose our heads.

“It was simply a decision to protect the match like this. It was too much noise. This was clear he will not be in the squad.

“But he’s our player, he will stay our player, we will always protect our player and we will.

“I cannot tell you right now (if he can be available on Wednesday) because we need to talk and understand the situation more and on we go.”

Chelsea play Tottenham – managed by Lukaku’s boss at Inter Milan, Antonio Conte – on Wednesday.

Read – Remembering every player to net the most goals in a calendar year since 2011

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