Romelu Lukaku’s communication skills can be just as important to Chelsea as his goals, believes Thomas Tuchel.
Lukaku shook off three defenders to head his fourth goal in as many Chelsea games as the Blues edged out Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Tuchel’s men started their Champions League defence with a hard-fought win to open their Group H account, with £98million recruit Lukaku again on the score sheet.
While Lukaku’s sheer finishing power tops his list of enviable attributes, Chelsea boss Tuchel also hailed the 28-year-old’s down-to-earth approach.
“He was the type of player and profile we were missing,” said Tuchel.
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“But he’s also super humble, he loves football, he loves to train and he’s such a good communicator in the dressing room.
“He is always open to everybody and that creates a certain energy and atmosphere that we are proud of. That’s what we believe in.”
Lukaku’s drive for self-improvement is underscored by his ability to speak at least seven different languages.
The Belgium striker has pushed himself to improve his communication both on and off the field, and his football has doubtless benefited.
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Tuchel has been an immediate fan of the way the former Anderlecht prospect conducts himself, with Chelsea unbeaten in the Premier League and now adding a win in Europe. The Blues capitalised on a burgeoning squad spirit en route to lifting last season’s Champions League under Tuchel, and the German boss is determined to maintain that positive mood.
“The atmosphere and the spirit took us very far last year and we want to have it again,” said Tuchel.
“Romelu loves Chelsea and knows what this club is all about.
“That makes a real difference and, at the same time, there’s no talk from a coach or no video in the world that can have the same impact on a player or a team as decisive goals.”