Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Picture highlights
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Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has chimed in on Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel’s recent spat over his form. The 28-year-old has outlined his versatility and hit back at Conte for describing him as a ‘target man’, declaring he ‘hates’ that outlook.
Ex-Chelsea manager Conte enjoyed success with Lukaku at Inter Milan, winning the Serie A title last season before both departed in the summer.
The Belgium international re-joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million deal and started his second life at Stamford Bridge in phenomenal form.
Lukaku scored four goals in his first four games back at the club but is currently enduring a run of five games without a single goal contribution.
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Conte believes Tuchel doesn’t yet know the best way to use Lukaku, and he urged the current Chelsea boss to start instructing him to run from midfield.
He said: “I don’t think Chelsea have quite figured out how to use him yet. He is a very specific striker.
“Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick.
“It is very difficult to find a player who is both a target man but can also run from midfield.”
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Tuchel responded to Conte’s analysis, stating there isn’t a problem with Lukaku, and he suggested the Italian should watch his performance in last month’s 3-0 win at Tottenham.
“He was obviously not on the telly after the Tottenham game,” Tuchel explained.
“I don’t feel offended; he has every right. He is in the TV studio. I even saw it while I was showering before the match in the hotel.
“I saw him talking about us, and I saw all the pictures between Romelu and our players from the Tottenham game.
“They were talking about the link-up play from Romelu, and how strong he is and how much he scored so they were praising him. I can see it but it is not a Romelu Lukaku problem.”
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Lukaku has fired back by insisting he doesn’t have a set way of playing and ‘hates’ being labelled as a target man because of his large stature – as Conte described him.
He told UEFA.com: “The way I’m built – I’m quite big – everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher.
“But I’ve never played that way, and I hate it. My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing towards the goal because that’s when I rarely make wrong choices.
“After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box. I can do a bit of everything, and in some games, when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently.
“The reason I’m so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything.”
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