Football

‘I don’t think he understands’; ex-Chelsea star offers solution to striking enigma


Former Chelsea star Mario Melchiot feels Romelu Lukaku would benefit from a heart-to-heart with manager Thomas Tuchel as he is clearly low on confidence.

Lukaku, 28, signed for Chelsea last summer, with the Blues paying Inter Milan £97.5m for the Belgium international. Much was expected of the talented striker after he had bagged 64 goals from 95 appearances in all competitions for the Nerazzurri. However, he has been unable to live up to expectations, with just 12 goals to his name to date.

He blotted his copybook in late December when suggesting he was not happy at the club and favoured a return to Inter. The storm eventually blew over after he issued an apology but it was clear that all was not well.

Lukaku was on the Chelsea books between 2011 and 2014. But he failed to hit the heights and spent time on loan with West Brom and Everton before penning permanent terms at Goodison Park.

The Antwerp-born star netted 87 goals from 168 outings for the Toffees, earning a move to Manchester United in 2017. He continued to be prolific in front of goal before switching to Serie A.

Lukaku fails to deliver

Back in west London, it seemed as though things were in place for him to lead Chelsea’s Premier League challenge. They will not win the title but have enjoyed a decent campaign to sit third.

And that is despite the club-record signing scoring only five top-flight goals. He struck the woodwork from close range in Chelsea FA Cup semi-final victory over Crystal Palace.

And Melchiot believes he has the answer to the hitman’s current woes.

“He needs a good chat with his coach,” he told talkSPORT. “To understand what his coach wants because if not he’s just killing his own confidence.

“Coming back after an injury and getting back in the team and coming on, of course, he hit the post trying to get the ball in the goal. It’s just sad, a player of his stature, of his ability.”

Lukaku unsure of Chelsea role

Chelsea will finish in the top four and still have a chance to lift silverware in the FA Cup final with Liverpool. They nearly pulled off a miracle at the Bernabeu before exiting the Champions League to Real Madrid.

The Stamford Bridge outfit will need Lukaku to be at his best next term if they are to challenge the big boys once again. And Melchiot, who made 165 appearances for the club, feels muddied waters need to be cleared.

“The only thing he can do for himself is have a good chat, understand what the coach wants,” he added. “Because I don’t always think that Lukaku really understands what’s expected from him in the system that Tuchel wants to play.”

READ MORE: Roy Keane delivers exciting verdict on Chelsea star showing ‘arrogance’ after slow start





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