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Thomas Tuchel Defends Romelu Lukaku Decision After Chelsea Star Suffers Ankle Injury

Thomas Tuchel has defended his selection of Romelu Lukaku against Malmo despite the Chelsea forward sustaining an ankle injury.

The 28-year-old was admitted by Tuchel to have been 'overplayed' ahead of the Champions League clash on Wednesday night. Surprisingly, Lukaku was named in the starting XI at Stamford Bridge and it didn't end well. 

Lukaku won a penalty in the 19th minute but was hurt in the process, injuring his ankle from the challenge, and was forced off in the first half. 

He is now expected to be sidelined for several games, Tuchel confirmed, and the Chelsea boss was quizzed over whether he regretted his decision not to rest the Belgium international. 

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"Romelu twisted his ankle with the foul in the box," said Tuchel. "We need more examinations to be more precise but (he) will be out for some matches.

"If I knew before (that he would get injured) I wouldn't have done it," added the Blues boss. "But you can't know it before and it was necessary that he was on the pitch and he started very strong. I spoke with him about the situation, that I think he carries a bit of mental fatigue around with him. I think that is also normal but he is our number nine and is our reference upfront.

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"The best thing against mental fatigue is a goal and we knew we could be the dominant team. We knew we wanted to build our attack today with Mason and Timo around him and him as the reference.

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"I had the strong belief that in a Champions League match he could turn things around in terms of scoring and being decisive, which he did because he was super strong in our start. He took the foul and without him maybe it's not 2-0.

"So I don't regret it. It's not a muscle injury or because of physical fatigue. He is a little bit overplayed, this is my opinion and maybe I'm not even right. But this was a moment to give him confidence and let him play. I don't regret it, things like this can happen. It was bad luck."

Chelsea suffered a double blow after Timo Werner also went off in the first half in the 4-0 win following a hamstring problem.


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