Chelsea superstar Romelu Lukaku has given his input to the ongoing row between Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel over the best use of the forward, claiming he 'hates' being labelled as a target man.
The 28-year-old has not quite made a lightning start to life in the Premier League, causing former coach Conte to suggest that Tuchel hasn't 'quite figured out how to use him yet'. The Italian also hinted that the Blues should utilise his unique strength of starting deep and carrying the ball from midfield.
Tuchel responded to Conte's advice, claiming that he wasn't 'offended', but reassured that any issues in Chelsea's buildup play were 'not a Romelu Lukaku problem'.
“He was obviously not on the telly after the Tottenham game," Tuchel began.
“I don’t feel offended, he has every right. He is in the TV studio. I even saw it while I was showering before the match in the hotel.
“I saw him talking about us and I saw all the pictures between Romelu and our players from the Tottenham game. They were talking about the link-up play from Romelu, and how strong he is and how much he scored so they were praising him.
“I can see it but it is not a Romelu Lukaku problem.”
And Lukaku has now waded in to offer his opinion over his greatest strengths, dismissing myths that he's simply a target man, and insisting that he is best utilised when 'facing towards the goal'.
“The way I’m built – I’m quite big – everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher,” he told UEFA.com.
“But I’ve never played that way and I hate it. My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing towards the goal, because that’s when I rarely make wrong choices.
“After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box. I can do a bit of everything and in some games when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently.
“The reason I’m so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything.”
Conte helped rejuvenate Lukaku's career during their two years together in Italy, scoring 47 league goals and firing Inter to a famous Serie A title success. He returned to Chelsea in a big-money move this summer, and has scored three goals in six league games for the Blues.
He hasn't adjusted to Chelsea's style of play under Tuchel just yet, prompting Conte's initial comments over the best way to maximise Lukaku's potential.
Source : 90min