Lukaku still a ‘big player’ for Chelsea – Tuchel

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and boss Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel insists Romelu Lukaku remains a “big player” for Chelsea despite speculation over the striker’s future.

Lukaku has endured an unhappy season since being signed from Inter Milan for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.

Reports in Italy have linked him with a return to Inter this summer.

Asked at a news conference on Friday if he wanted to keep Lukaku, Tuchel said: “Yes, I want him to be an important part of the squad.”

Referring to the sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich, which mean Chelsea cannot do business until a takeover is completed, the head coach added: “He is right now a very important part of the squad and, next season, there is no recruitment and no players are about to leave, because it’s simply not possible.

“We signed a big player and he still is a big player. He has trained very well and maybe starts tomorrow.”

Tuchel also played down the significance of Christian Pulisic’s father suggesting on social media that the American is unhappy at his lack of game time.

Tuchel said it was “a normal thing” for players to be unhappy when they are not starting matches.

He added: “Every manager, we have our reasons to choose our line-up and we have our reasons to go for players in the first 11.

“You will never see, at this level of competition, happy faces from players who are not selected.

“Between and me Christian exists zero problem. He had a fantastic training week and in some matches makes a huge impact from the bench.

“I will do my very best to do the right judgement. Am I always right? For sure not. Is it always fair? For sure not? But this is what you sign up for in a club like Chelsea.

“He’s very strong and very positive in the last weeks.”