EPL

Tuchel 'couldn't care less' about Lukaku and Ronaldo comparisons

By Sports Desk September 12, 2021

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel "couldn’t care less" if Romelu Lukaku scores ore goals than Cristiano Ronaldo this season after both new signings netted Premier League doubles.

Lukaku, who joined Chelsea from Internazionale last month, scored the first and third goals in the Blues' 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Meanwhile Ronaldo starred in his second debut for Manchester United, netting a brace as they won 4-1 over Newcastle prompting comparisons between the pair.

"I couldn't care less as long as Lukaku scores for us," Tuchel said when asked who he thinks will score more this season during the post-match news conference.

"Honestly, I know you'd like to have a good answer but unfortunately, I don't have one. Lukaku was decisive for us today and that is what we are looking for.

"He wants to score for Chelsea, help the team with his goals, that is what he did today.

"That is why he is here. He is not shy to speak this ambition out loud because he is full of confidence and is the kind of personality that can handle it. This is what he showed in the first games and today."

Another new Chelsea signing Saul Niguez made his club debut, starting but being replaced at half-time after an underwhelming display.

Tuchel admitted the Spanish midfielder "struggled" but put the blame on himself rather than the player who joined on loan from Atletico Madrid on deadline day.

"He struggled. I take the responsibility for that," Tuchel said.

"I put him into a difficult match after a national break. It was hard for him to adapt to the physicality, and to the intensity and high pressing of Aston Villa. It was also a bit hard for him to adapt to our system and our principles.

"We thought to give a bit more stability to the centre to switch the shape to a 5-3-2 in the second half with Jorginho.

"It was a tough one, but I hope he accepts it is my responsibility. In training it looked like he had no problem to adapt, but it was training.

"The game was very intense today, he had some easy ball losses so that’s why I thought before he loses more confidence I would take him off."

Related items

  • 'Am I the only one excited?' – Pele relishing Brazilian battles as Real Madrid and Liverpool prepare to tango in Paris 'Am I the only one excited?' – Pele relishing Brazilian battles as Real Madrid and Liverpool prepare to tango in Paris

    Pele expects to enjoy a strong Brazilian flavour to the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but asked on Friday night: "Am I the only one excited?"

    The three-time World Cup winner, still considered by many the greatest player in history, pointed to the strong presence of players from the Selecao set to be on show at the Stade de France in Paris.

    He noted how Madrid have Vinicius Junior and Casemiro in their ranks, while also suggesting Alisson and Fabinho could have crucial roles for Liverpool in the showpiece match.

    Pele could have also mentioned Madrid's Marcelo, Eder Militao and semi-final comeback hero Rodrygo, who scored twice at the death in the second leg against Manchester City to rescue a seemingly lost cause.

    Their Brazilian influence is strong, while Liverpool can also point to forward Roberto Firmino in their squad.

    Pele wrote on Instagram: "I want to see a great final between @realmadrid and @liverpoolfc tomorrow. My friends @vinijr and @casemiro will have a tough challenge against @alissonbecker and @fabinho. Am I the only one excited about tomorrow's match? I'm sure not!"

    The 81-year-old Pele has been battling ill health in recent times, undergoing treatment for colon cancer. He recently said he managed to find "peace" in the company of his wife Marcia and dog Cacau.

    "Treatment is difficult, but feeling their love is the best medicine," Pele said.

  • Marcelo and Courtois hail Ancelotti impact ahead of Champions League final Marcelo and Courtois hail Ancelotti impact ahead of Champions League final

    Real Madrid duo Marcelo and Thibaut Courtois have hailed Carlo Ancelotti's impact on the side on the eve of their Champions League final clash with Liverpool, with the former saying he is "lucky" to have worked with the Italian.

    Ancelotti has made a stunning impact since returning to the club he led to the 2014 Champions League title, winning LaLiga by a 13-point margin and leading Los Blancos to the showpiece event in Paris against all odds.

    Madrid have become the first team to reach the competition's final after losing a game in each of the last 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals, while Ancelotti could win the trophy for a fourth time as head coach.

    That would make the Italian the most successful boss in the competition's history outright, and he has won three of his previous four Champions League finals – though his one such defeat came against Liverpool as Milan boss in 2005.

    Speaking alongside Ancelotti at Madrid's pre-match press conference in Paris, both players hailed the Italian's abilities to communicate with Los Blancos' star-studded squad, with Marcelo saying he felt fortunate to have worked under the 62-year-old.

    "I've known him for eight years, I've been lucky enough to train with him," the Brazilian said of his head coach.

    "He understands football very well and knows how to manage the locker room. It's normal that we all want to play. 

    "This season we haven't had almost any problems, the coach leaves us alone, tells us the truth. That gives confidence to work."

    Madrid goalkeeper Courtois, who is yet to win European football's biggest prize and was a runner-up to Los Blancos when on loan at Atletico Madrid in 2014, echoed the left-back's praise of Ancelotti, crediting him and his staff with fostering an excellent team spirit at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    "The good dynamics of the team is due to the coaching staff, we train very well and we know that they make decisions," he said.

    "But they manage it very well, everyone has played. That's why we are where we are."

    Including Marcelo, Madrid have four different players in their squad to have made 100 or more Champions League appearances (Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo, and David Alaba). 

    They could become the first team to name a starting XI in the competition's final featuring four or more players with a century of Champions League appearances, having fielded three in their 2018 final win over Jurgen Klopp's team (Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Sergio Ramos).

    Meanwhile, Marcelo, who is out of contract at the end of this season, says any decision on whether he will extend his 15-year stay with Madrid will be made after the final.

    While the 34-year-old was unwilling to give any hints as to where his future may lie, he referred to the Spanish giants as "the club of his life", and says the team has given him "everything" in his career.

    "Everyone knows my passion and my love for the club of my life, which is Madrid," Marcelo added. 

    "[Former club] Fluminense was in its time, it gave me everything at the beginning. Madrid has given me everything too. 

    "I won't say what I think now. I don't want a statue, my story is made in Madrid, and I will continue to do so. After the final, we'll see what we do."

  • Benzema continuing to grow as a leader, says Ancelotti Benzema continuing to grow as a leader, says Ancelotti

    Karim Benzema is continuing to grow as a leader on and off the pitch after inspiring Real Madrid to the Champions League final, according to head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

    The France international leads the scoring charts in this season's competition with 15 goals, which is just two behind Cristiano Ronaldo's all-time record in a single campaign.

    That includes back-to-back hat-tricks in the knockout-stage wins over Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea, and three goals across both legs against Manchester City in the semis.

    Benzema is enjoying his best campaign yet in front of goal and will look to round off 2021-22 in style when Madrid face Liverpool in Saturday's final at Stade de France in Paris.

    Asked what improvements he has seen in Benzema this season, Ancelotti said: "He has more personality and leadership now on and off the pitch.

    "What has not changed is his quality, which is still top, and also his humility."

    At 34 years and 160 days, Benzema is out to become the second-oldest player to score in the Champions League final after Paolo Maldini (36y 333d) for Milan – also against Liverpool in 2005.

    The 34-year-old has happy memories of playing against the Reds, having opened the scoring in Madrid's 3-1 victory when the sides met in the 2018 final in Kyiv.

    Marcelo, who was also on the pitch that day and is seeking an incredible 25th trophy with Los Blancos this weekend, has also been impressed by Benzema's leadership qualities.

    "He has shown that [leadership], though it's not just been this season," Marcelo said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

    "His character and presence has helped the team a lot. He doesn't even need to talk for that. He plays great football for us."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.