Chelsea v Tottenham: Match in pictures
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Paul Merson has slated Thomas Tuchel for his poor man-management on the back of his public spat with Romelu Lukaku, following the Belgium striker’s admission that he would like to return to Inter Milan.
A three-week-old interview with Sky Italia emerged just before the turn of the year, with Lukaku stating his desire to return to the Lombardy capital after securing the Serie A title last season.
Lukaku apologised for his actions, stating he was “sorry for the upset I caused”.
But Tuchel took matters into his own hands, dropping the prolific Belgian for the crunch clash against Liverpool on January 2.
The German opted to start Kai Havertz upfront instead, with the German failing to produce the goods in what was considered a title race six-pointer.
And Merson believes that Tuchel’s decision not to play Lukaku has already blown the title for them.
“Romelu Lukaku will win something for Chelsea this season – but Thomas Tuchel has already blown the title by dropping him against Liverpool,” Merson told the Daily Star.
“They had to win that game to have any chance of chasing down Manchester City. Now they’re ten points behind and Liverpool are still right behind them.
“People say Tuchel was right to drop him. But you know he’s not bombing him out of the club, so why drop him for your most important game of the season? He came back a few days later against Tottenham.
“It makes no sense. It’s biting off your nose to spite your face.
“Lukaku will play every game now. It will all be forgotten. And he will score goals. He’s a great striker. They will win something this season because his goals will carry the Stamford Bridge outfit.
“Lukaku is one of those players who needs an arm around his shoulder and I don’t think Tuchel is showing him enough love.
“But Chelsea are a better team with him in it, so for me he has to play every week now, and I think he will.”
Chelsea’s exceptional start to the Premier League season meant that the Blues were ahead of Manchester City by five points at the end of Halloween, with a title charge seemingly on the cards for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Yet just four wins from a possible 11 following the Halloween period have left the club 10 points behind league leaders, continuously drifting away from being the best team in the nation.
With just one win in their last five league games, Tuchel will be looking for a reprieve over the coming weeks – starting with City next weekend.
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