Thomas Tuchel has apologised to Inter Milan supporters for signing Romelu Lukaku from the Italian giants in the summer.
Lukaku spent two seasons at Inter after arriving from Manchester United in 2019, before helping the Nerazzurri win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season under the tutelage of former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
The Belgium forward’s willingness to return to Stamford Bridge following a seven-year spell away from the club, coupled with Inter’s dire financial situation, meant that Chelsea were able to agree a deal in the region of £100m for the 28-year-old.
Speaking at Il Festival dello Sport in Trento, Italy, the current Chelsea boss said sorry to the fans of Lukaku’s former club, before explaining why the west London club wanted to sign him.
‘I’m sorry for the Inter fans but like everyone we try to improve. We identified a certain profile, a very physical striker, a reference, a player with personality who could take the pressure off the shoulders of the youngest. A player who allowed us to play faster football,’ the German coach said.
‘There aren’t many players like that. When we have the chance to bring Lukaku back, it was an important moment for us. He said he was fine where he was, he worked extraordinarily with [Antonio] Conte and Inter.
‘But then returning and finishing his career in England, where he played as a young man, was important. Lukaku wanted to play for Chelsea for these reasons and everything went well.’
Lukaku made a fine start to his Chelsea return, scoring three times in his opening four Premier League matches, but has since failed to score in his last two top flight games.
The former Inter striker has pulled out of Belgium’s squad ahead of their Nations League third-placed playoff against Italy on Sunday after suffering from ‘muscle overload’, according to national team manager Roberto Martinez.
The Blues will be hoping to have the Belgium forward available when they travel to newly-promoted Brentford on October 16.