Romelu Lukaku is what Chelsea were ‘missing’, hails Thomas Tuchel as ‘world-class’ striker fires Champions League holders to victory over Zenit

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  • Tuchel admits Lukaku is the kind of player Chelsea ‘missing’ last season
  • Lukaku scored his fourth goal in four matches during his game on Tuesday
  • Chelsea beat Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 in their group game at Stamford Bridge
  • Tuchel believes it is Lukaku’s clinical edge that makes him a ‘world class’ striker

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Thomas Tuchel admitted Romelu Lukaku is the type of player Chelsea were ‘missing’ last season when he led the Blues to a win over Zenith St Petersburg on Tuesday.

Lukaku scored his fourth goal in four games since joining the West London club for £98m this summer, beating Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross in the 69th minute of the game to seal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

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Tuchel believes it is Lukaku’s clinical edge that makes him a ‘world class’ striker and claims the club is ‘very happy to have him’, as he has scored four of his six this season. Shot is made on target.

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Manager Thomas Tuchel admitted Romelu Lukaku is the type of player Chelsea were ‘missing’ last season when he led the Blues to a win over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday (above).

Speaking after Chelsea’s victory in their first Champions League group game, he said: ‘Romelu’s performance was not easy.

“We didn’t create too many chances for him but he is the kind of person who doesn’t lose confidence and confidence. And that’s why he is a world class striker.

‘That’s super important, it’s as simple as that. You don’t find many strikers of their quality.

‘We won and delivered results even without Romelu. But that was the type of profile we were missing not only because of talent but because of personality.

The Belgian forward scored his fourth goal in four matches with a little over 20 minutes behind Cesar Azpilicueta's cross during a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge (above).

The Belgian forward scored his fourth goal in four matches with a little over 20 minutes behind Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross during a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge (above).

‘He’s such a humble guy, a super communicator in the dressing room, and that creates a certain energy around him in the team that we are proud of and we want to be.

‘The spirit and atmosphere of last year took us too far and it is important that we have it again. We have it with Romelu, he knows what the club is about.

‘We have him and we are very happy because he gives confidence to everyone around him.’

Tuchel believes Lukaku is capable of changing the pace of the game and moving Chelsea forward.

The Blues manager also says that Lukaku’s presence on the pitch takes the pressure off some of his Chelsea teammates.

Tuchel said: ‘There are not many goals in football and goals change the pace of the match. This assures the entire team that one chance is enough for him to score.

Tuchel (left) believes it is Lukaku's (right) clinical edge that makes him a 'world class' striker and claims the club is 'very happy to have him' as he has spent his six on target made four shots out of

Tuchel (left) believes it is Lukaku’s (right) clinical edge that makes him a ‘world class’ striker and claims the club is ‘very happy to have him’ as he has spent his six on target made four shots out of

Tuchel says Lukaku can change the pace of the game and inspire his teammates

Tuchel says Lukaku can change the pace of the game and inspire his teammates

‘So he not only brings talent, he brings confidence and takes the pressure off the shoulders of others around him.

‘He has the personality of not losing confidence. He is at a very high level and we are very happy to have him with us.

Having only returned to the club this summer, Lukaku has already proved he deserves the £98m Chelsea paid for.

He has scored one goal against Arsenal, two goals against Aston Villa and now a goal on the European stage.

Nevertheless, Chelsea got off to a slow start against the Russian champions. – Who showed Tuchel’s back-three, with his holding midfielder Wilmer Barrios positioned as one of three central defenders.

Chelsea’s opponents made tackles and quickly broke down on turnovers with Claudinho and Malcolm at the center of each counter-attack.

However, they were able to make little and Chelsea took control of midfield as they approached half-time.

Boss says Lukaku's presence on the pitch takes the pressure off some teammates

Boss says Lukaku’s presence on the pitch takes the pressure off some teammates

Chelsea got off to a slow start as their opponents made tackles and quickly broke through on turnovers with Claudinho (left) and Malcolm at the center of each counterattack.

Chelsea got off to a slow start as their opponents made tackles and quickly broke through on turnovers with Claudinho (left) and Malcolm at the center of each counterattack.

After the break, the Blues picked up the pace and created several chances – but Lukaku found it in the back of the net.

Reflecting on the team’s performance, Tuchel said: ‘I am happy with the performance in general.

‘It was a tough match against a strong opponent. In the first half, it was difficult for us to find short gaps, accelerate the game, be dangerous and make touches in the box.

Tuchel also praised Chelsea's Kai Havertz for getting the right spot on the pitch

Tuchel also praised Chelsea’s Kai Havertz for getting the right spot on the pitch

“We played with a lot of intensity and recovered in a lot of balls. We had to be focused and aware of our defense as he has so many personal qualities.

‘We did all that and in the second half we found it easy to find the gap between the lines, to accelerate, to create half chances, to deliver. And Azpi’s cross was nice and dangerous as it comes from a hard place to defend around the box.

‘The target was the second post and Kai (Hawartz) and Romelu were there. It was good as well as a decisive goal which was very good for us.

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