Tuchel praises Lukaku after Chelsea striker’s return

Thomas Tuchel said he was pleased with Romelu Lukaku’s performance in Chelsea’s 2–0 win at home to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.

Blues boss Tuchel brought Lukaku back into the fold after the striker apologised for a recent television interview in which he said he was unhappy at the club.

“I’m happy with the performance. I like how he played,” said Tuchel.

“He was strong, he was involved and showed huge commitment in our defensive work, which was important.

“He was always dangerous, always used his body and was always involved in dangerous situations.

“I expected it, honestly, because Romelu can handle pressure, handle adversity and he seemed to be relaxed enough to have a performance like this.”

Kai Havertz’s early opener and Ben Davies’ farcical own goal put Chelsea two up in the first half.

They spurned chances to add a third goal but are in a strong position going in to next week’s second leg.

“We could have created a bigger cushion. It was possible,” Tuchel said.

“We created a lot and had big chances to have a third or fourth goal.

“Everybody knows that this (semi-final) is not decided. We have to arrive with full focus because we need another 90 minutes of top-quality football if we want to go through to Wembley.”

Tuchel said Havertz suffered a suspected broken finger before being replaced at half-time.

Tuchel admitted he was “very worried” when Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to pick up an injury in the closing stages.

But the captain was apparently only suffering from cramp, which the German described as “good news” in light of Chelsea’s recent injury worries.