Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has admitted that the Blues were ‘missing’ something before Romelu Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge during the summer.
Lukaku scored the only goal as Chelsea began the defence of their Champions League title with a 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday night, taking his tally to four in four appearances so far.
Tuchel guided Chelsea to Champions League glory last season. But the coach insists that Lukaku has given them something they didn’t have even with that triumph, both on and off the pitch.
"The performance from Romelu was not easy. We didn't create many chances for him but he's the type of guy who doesn't lose confidence and belief. And that is why he is a world-class striker," Tuchel said of the world class Belgian, via Sky Sports.
“He's super important, it's as easy as that. You don't find many strikers of his quality. We did win also without Romelu and produced results. But he was the type of profile we were missing, not just because of the talent but because of the personality.
“He is such a humble guy, a super communicator in the dressing room, and that creates a certain energy around him in the team that we are proud of and what to have.
“The spirit and atmosphere last year took us very far and it's important we have it again. We have it with Romelu, he knows what the club is about. We have him and we are very pleased because he gives everybody around him confidence.”
Lukaku was signed to Chelsea for three years earlier in his career without ever getting a proper chance, forcing him to make his career elsewhere. But his dream of playing and scoring for Chelsea was something that emerged in childhood and he’s finally made it a reality.
Having scored his first Stamford Bridge goal against Aston Villa at the weekend, Lukaku said, “It was my dream, since I was 11. I have waited for this moment and worked hard for this moment.”