Chelsea fans are disappointed with manager Thomas Tuchel after Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner were both taken off injured in the Champions League Group H clash against Malmo.
Lukaku, 28, was included in the starting line-up against the Swedish Champions despite Tuchel’s comments midweek about the striker suffering with being ‘overplayed’ and ‘tired.’
He said in his pre-match Malmo press conference: “In the very moment I feel Romelu is a bit overplayed. I think he played too many competitions over the summer, too many competitions with the national team and now he has played the Nations League.
“He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he digs in deep, he wants to win these things and he never takes it easy and judges games.
“He wants to be out there and win so I know how much he wanted to have a good outcome for Belgium in the Euros, and the Nations League meant a lot to him too.
“It was a huge match for him personally, it means a lot to him to play for his country. So he takes it really seriously and if it doesn’t go well he always takes it on his shoulders.
“I feel him a bit mentally tired. Not hugely that we have concern but for me he does not fully enjoy without having second or third thoughts, for me he overplayed and this is the key point.”
To add to the injury woes of Wednesday night, Timo Werner pulled up just before half-time with what looked to be a hamstring injury.
With both natural strikers being withdrawn from proceedings at Stamford Bridge, it begs the question of who may start upfront for the European Champions in their next assignment on the weekend in the Premier League against Norwich.
Nonetheless, it was clear to see on social media who fans of the west London club had the hump for after seeing these two incidents unfold during game week three of this season’s Champions League.
Here is the best of the reaction.
@Armando pointed out: ‘Tuchel says Lukaku has been over-worked. – Starts him instead of resting vs. a pretty easy team. -Lukaku off early for ankle injury.
@RyanWel6645345 had only one person to vent his frustrations at: ‘I love Tuchel but this is his fault. Playing a full-strength team against a side like Malmö. Ridiculous really, could have an impact on our next few games.’
@HuvelyesM worryingly put: ‘We have no striker.’
@crackati also was not in a sympathetic mood: ‘This lukaku injury is on tuchel and tuchel only.’
@CFCAzza97 tweeted: ‘So vexed about Lukaku injury, good thing we’ve got some easy fixtures upcoming.’
@RealSociableDad is fearing the worst: ‘Lukaku injury looked nasty – twisted knee badly – don’t think it will just be a game or two out with that one.’
@BlueInkRevenge is feeling upset for the Belgian specifically: ‘Lukaku needed a goal or two to get back on track, with Malmo up and Norwich next of course he’s gotten an injury.’
@imYash07 similarly put: ‘Genuinely think Lukaku needed a rest or shouldn’t have started. Hope the injury ain’t that serious.’
We will hear more from Tuchel post-match but Kai Havertz’s second half goal has shown that he has the potential to be the short-term solution to this immediate striking crisis.