Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has voiced his frustration after both injury and Covid-19 derailed the first five months of his much-anticipated Stamford Bridge comeback.
Lukaku returned to Chelsea from Inter in the summer in a blockbuster transfer worth £97.5m. However, having hit the ground running with four goals in as many games, the Belgium international endured a seven-game barren spell before spraining his ankle in the Champions League group stage clash with Malmö in late October.
That injury kept him out until late November, at which point he was eased back into first-team action by Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel. However, his rehabilitation was curtailed by a bout of Covid in mid-December.
Lukaku has returned from that latest setback with two goals and an assist in consecutive games and looks back to his best.
However, in an interview with Sky Sports Italy due to be broadcast on Friday, 31 December, Lukaku expressed his frustration at his underwhelming start to life back at Chelsea and how he was somewhat struggling to adapt to Tuchel’s system – although it is worth noting that it is not clear when exactly the interview was conducted.
When asked how he was getting on, the striker said: “Physically I’m fine, even better than before. After two years in Italy, in which I worked a lot at Inter with trainers and nutritionists, I am physically fine.
“But I’m not happy with the situation, this is normal. I think the coach has chosen to play with another module, I just have to not give up and continue to work and be a professional. I am not happy with the situation, but I am a worker and I must not give up.”
The “situation” Lukaku is referring to is almost certainly his lack of goals and the lengthy injury lay-off, and although he is honest about his slow adaptation to Tuchel’s tactics, it is clear this is not intended to be a slight at his manager – as widely reported elsewhere.
Lukaku has previously admitted he has had conversations with Tuchel about his role, but with the number nine back and firing on all cylinders, there is likely nothing to worry about for Chelsea supporters.