No Hard Feelings Between Thomas Tuchel and Romelu Lukaku Ahead of League Cup Final

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said there were no issues between him and Romelu Lukaku after the striker was benched for their Champions League knockout tie, but he did not confirm if the Belgian would start Sunday’s League Cup final against Liverpool.

Club record signing Lukaku did not play a single minute in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Lille in the last-16 first leg and Tuchel said the Belgium international – who has 10 goals this season – was rested since he had played many matches.

“We had a similar situation with Jorginho, one of our captains, because we feel he was a little mentally tired. The focus on Romelu I understand, but it’s a similar situation as Jorginho,” Tuchel told reporters on Friday.

“The decisions are made clear and the players accept. Once you play for Chelsea, you accept the team comes first and that’s why there are no hard feelings, not from Romelu or from me.”

Tuchel also refused to confirm whether Kepa Arrizabalaga would start in goal or whether he would stick with Edouard Mendy.

“I will take the decision late. Kepa played in the Club World Cup semi-final and brought us to the final but then we took the decision to go with Edou (Edouard Mendy) for the final, who was back from the African Cup of Nations,” Tuchel said.

“The last decision we will take after training, as always. Kepa did fantastic in the period that we had to be without Edou, so it’s an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation to be in.”

The match is Chelsea’s fourth final under Tuchel and the German manager said he was not one for inspirational team talks but driving the message home on a daily basis.

“You take care of the final on the daily process. The principles, the behavior is installed,” he added.

“When the tension is growing, we try to give less information. It’s not the time for crazy things, crazy talks. But even that changes from occasion to occasion.”

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