By Nick Purewal, PA
Thomas Tuchel has admitted Chelsea are frustrated after Romelu Lukaku revealed his dissatisfaction with his Stamford Bridge situation.
The “surprised” Chelsea boss admitted he would sit down with Belgium striker Lukaku to thrash out a way forward but insisted he does not see any problem with the £98 million (€116 million) club-record summer signing.
Lukaku told Sky Italy “I’m not happy with the situation” at Chelsea in an interview released on Thursday, but understood to have been conducted three weeks ago.
The 28-year-old has since told ESPN Brazil he had resolved any issues in a chat where he told Tuchel he was “multidimensional”, but Chelsea’s manager accepted he had been left frustrated by the “noise”.
“We don’t like it, of course, because it brings noise that we don’t need and is not helpful,” said Tuchel.
“But on the other side, we don’t want to make more out of it than it actually is.
“You know very well how it is, it’s very easy to take lines out of context, to shorten lines to make headlines, then realise later it’s not so bad or what he meant.
“But let’s be honest, we don’t like it, because it’s noise we don’t need, we need a calm environment.
“I don’t feel him unhappy; I feel the exact opposite. If you ask me yesterday morning, I would say he is absolutely fine.
“If there is something to discuss it’s behind closed doors, for sure.
“If it’s an interview from a person of that kind of interest, an important player, I totally understand the process. And that’s why it’s a lot of extra noise, but still we are not here to just read the headlines.
“And maybe we here can take the time to try to understand what’s going on.
“Because it does not reflect his daily work, it does not reflect his daily attitude, the daily behaviour which Romelu shows here at Cobham.
“But you need to ask him not me, I cannot answer you further, because I was surprised.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 30, 2021
Lukaku has hit two goals in his last two appearances, netting in the 1-1 draw with Brighton on Wednesday in his first Chelsea start for 10 weeks.
The former Inter Milan hitman missed a sizeable chunk of the season through ankle trouble and then contracting Covid-19, with Tuchel staggering his return to action but the striker appearing itching for action.
Chelsea will host Liverpool on Sunday without hamstring injury victim Reece James and Ben Chilwell, whose season is over after knee ligament surgery.
Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are further defensive injury doubts, while Timo Werner has remained unwell after testing positive for Covid.
Tuchel insisted he would take a measured approach in reaction to Lukaku’s comments and in talks with the 28-year-old.
But Chelsea’s German boss also claimed a certain level of tension in a top club’s dressing room can be turned into an advantage.
It’s not necessary for the dressing room to be always in harmony,” said Tuchel.
“You don’t have to hug each other and love each other every day.
“Sometimes it’s good to be on the edge, sometimes it’s good to be in disharmony, when it is in between certain boundaries.
“The thing with Romelu is that I don’t think anyone in this building is aware he’s unhappy.
“That’s why (there is) surprise at the statement, that’s why we need to check with him now, because I can see no reason why it should be like this.
“So I will wait to see what Romelu has to say, and then we will deal with this.”