“Chelsea would have been MAD to have backed Lukaku over Tuchel”

“Chelsea would have been MAD to have backed Lukaku over Tuchel”

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04 Jan 2022
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According to Martin Samuel, Chelsea would have been mad if they backed Lukaku over Tuchel on the Lukaku saga.

There is a reason Pep Guardiola did not push Man City to complete the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yes, he would have had to change the way his team played, but he accepted that. He understood Ronaldo would bring goals and was prepared to go away and reshape the side to accommodate him.

What he could not reconcile, however, was more of a personal issue. Guardiola explained that if he wanted Kevin De Bruyne to rest for a game, he would, and no argument. If he wanted De Bruyne to sit on the bench, there would be no complaints. And even if he told De Bruyne to come off at half-time, that wouldn’t be an issue. And De Bruyne, he knew, might well be the best creative midfielder in the world. 

Over the years at Manchester City, he had reinforced the idea that the team ethic was all-important. There was not a single player putting himself ahead of the group. The team spirit was second to none. Every man, no matter how talented, left his ego at the door.

And then he was going to open that door and ask his squad to welcome a player who remains the epitome of the individual in a team sport — CR7. While he knew what Ronaldo would bring to Manchester City, he feared that, in the eyes of the players, signing him would make the manager a hypocrite and risk jeopardising all he had built.

Worse, Guardiola feared he would share that view. City did not pursue the deal.

So we can only hope that when it is time to pick sides over Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea identify who cares more for their club. That hasn’t always been the case.

It doesn’t really matter if a player falls out with the manager at Stamford Bridge because a new one will be along soon enough. It’s the same at Watford. It is no surprise that, after a heavy loss to West Ham, there were stories circulating that the players were unhappy with Claudio Ranieri.

Clubs that treat managers like cannon fodder can hardly be surprised when team spirit is the collateral damage.

So, there was a meeting between Tuchel and Lukaku and it was asked what the manager could do to settle his unhappy striker. Surely, that question is the wrong way round.

What can Lukaku do for his manager, and the club, is the more logical conversation. So a clash between Lukaku and the coach who made Chelsea champions of Europe is as much a test for the club as it is for Tuchel. 

  • chelsea
  • Martin Samuel
  • Romelu lukaku
  • Thomas Tuchel
  • Livescore (livescore)
  • Match highlights

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