- Romelu Lukaku has been dropped to the bench following his poor performance in their Premier League clash vs Crystal Palace
- Manager Thomas Tuchel expressed disappointment over the player’s performance and named Kai Havertz in their starting line-up against Lille
- Tuchel has explained his reason for dropping the Belgian to the bench, saying it seems the player looks exhausted
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was dropped to the bench in Chelsea’s Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash against French club Lille.
Lukaku was heavily criticised following his performance against Crystal Palace over the weekend and now he drops to the bench.
The former Inter Milan striker touched the ball just seven times in the Premier League clash against the Eagles, with his performance becoming a major talking point.
Pundits blast the £97million signing claiming he was not clever about his movements, and manager Tuchel decided to start Kai Havertz ahead of Lukaku.
The Chelsea boss has disclosed that he was unhappy with Lukaku’s performance:
He told BT Sport via Express:
"It is not an indirect result of that [performance against Palace]. He looked a little exhausted and you have to consider he played a lot. A lot of travelling and extra time.
"It was not the best performance from him and maybe it is better for him to come from the bench."
Tuchel had worryingly suggested on Monday that he was unsure how to get Lukaku more involved in games.
Tuchel laughed when asked about Lukaku’s performance at Palace.
"Ha, what can I do? I don't know. Well, now we have to deal with it, the data is out there and speaks a certain language.”
Chelsea 2-0 Lille
Meanwhile, N’Golo Kanté put on another brilliant performance in midfield as Chelsea defeated Lille 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League.
The Blues enjoyed a relatively comfortable win over the Frenchmen, courtesy of goals by German Kai Havertz and American Christian Pulisic.
The return leg in Lille will take place on the 16th of March.
Valencia vs Juventus end in a stalemate
Sports Brief reports that Spanish club Villarreal will need to thank Dani Parejo who rescued a point for them in their Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash against Juventus.
The Italian side opened the scoring inside the first minute following a brilliant strike by Dusan Vlahovic.
But Dani Parejo sent the entire Estadio de la Cerámica into the wilds in the 66th when he grabbed one back to ensure they share the spoils as it ended 1-1.