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Romelu Lukaku apologises and returns to Chelsea squad, Thomas Tuchel confirms

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Romelu Lukaku has apologised and will return to the Chelsea squad for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Tottenham, manager Thomas Tuchel says.

Lukaku was dropped for Sunday’s Premier League draw with Liverpool after comments he made in an interview recorded three weeks ago.

The pair had a “calm” meeting on Monday about the striker returning.
Lukaku has since said he is “sorry for the upset caused”.
“I should have been much clearer in my message,” Lukaku told the Chelsea website.
“The interview was about saying goodbye to the Inter [Milan] fans, and it wasn’t about trying to disrespect the [Chelsea] fans, my team-mates, the club and the manager.
“They made a lot of effort to bring me here and I wanted to come back. I have been on a mission since I left so I totally understand the frustration of the fans, but now it is on me to make sure I show my commitment 100%.”
In the interview, recorded in December, Chelsea’s club record £97.5m signing said he was “not happy” with his bit-part role under Tuchel and would like to return to Inter Milan in the near future.
But Lukaku, in his direct message to the club’s fans, added: “I am sorry for the upset I have caused. You guys know the connection I have to the club and I totally understand you guys being upset.

It was not the right moment and I want to move forward and make sure we start winning football matches.”

Speaking during his news conference earlier on Tuesday, manager Tuchel said: “He [Lukaku] apologised and is back in the squad for today’s training.
“We have given it time to look back on. For me, the most important thing was to understand – and clearly understand – it was not intentional. He did not do this intentionally to create this kind of noise in front of a big game.”
Before Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool, Tuchel said he had left the 28-year-old out of the squad to “protect the preparation”.
Tuchel added: “Even before, when he seemed to be, in his opinion, ready to play after his injury from the start and we thought he needed to readapt to the intensity a little bit more, there was never the slightest behaviour against the team.
“So, it was the very first time that he felt in this way. It’s very important to stay calm and understand it’s not as big as maybe people want it to be.”
Lukaku has scored seven goals in 18 appearances since he rejoined Chelsea from Italian champions Inter Milan last August.
He has been hampered by injury and illness since returning to Stamford Bridge and, at times, was left out of the starting line-up even when fit.
However, he has had a recent upturn in form, scoring in his past two Premier League appearances, after discussions about his role with Tuchel.
The Blues boss said Lukaku is “aware of what he has created”, adding the frontman “feels the responsibility to clean up the mess”.
“He is still our player and we have good, good reasons to make him play for us and convince him to fight hard,” said Tuchel.

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