Romelu Lukaku has issued an apology to Chelsea fans, as well as manager Thomas Tuchel and his Blues teammates, after comments he made in an interview with Sky Italia last week caused an uproar among the club, media, and supporters.
Lukaku stated in the interview, recorded three weeks prior but released just before the new year, that he was unhappy with Tuchel’s tactics while adding that he hoped to someday return to Inter Milan due to his connection with the Italian club that he helped lead to a league title last season.
While his comments were less inflamatory than they may have appeared in some initial translations, they still made it clear that Lukaku did not exactly see eye-to-eye with the manager, and that he felt the tactics employed were less than a perfect fit for his skill set.
Lukaku suffered consequences for his words, having been left out of the team for Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Jan. 2. Tuchel acknowledged the poor optics of Lukaku’s words before the match against Liverpool, although he clearly did not find them to be as offensive as some fans, and a now a few days removed from the interview’s release, all has seemingly been repaired from within.
Romelu Lukaku’s video apology to fans
In a video posted to Chelsea’s Twitter account, Lukaku first addressed the fans, apologizing for the appearance that he was looking for a way out only months after arriving from Inter in the summer of 2021.
“To the fans, I’m sorry for the upset that I caused,” Lukaku said. “You guys know the connection that I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset. Obviously, it’s up to me now to restore your trust and I’ll do my best to show commitment every day on the training ground and in the games to make sure we win games.”
He then directed his apology to the manager and his teammates, acknowledging the distraction he caused.
“To the manager, I apologize and to my teammates and the squad because I think it was not the right moment and I want to move forward from this make sure we start winning football games and that I perform for the team in the best manner.”
Chelsea next plays Tottenham on Wednesday, Jan. 5 in the Carabao Cup, and with Lukaku having returned to training, Tuchel could select the Belgian to lead the front line. That could see U.S. international Christian Pulisic drop to wingback, where he has deputized in place of the injured Reece James.
It is surely in Tuchel’s interest to patch up this situation quickly, as Lukaku has been a vital piece of Chelsea’s season thus far.
The Belgian has five goals and an assist so far in 13 Premier League appearances, including goals in each of his last two games, and the team has generally looked more dangerous up front with Lukaku’s presence.
Against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, Lukaku came off the bench and turned the game on its head, scoring a goal and assisting another in a 3-1 win. He then scored Chelsea’s only goal in a 1-1 home draw against Brighton.