Former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole doesn’t blame record signing Romelu Lukaku for his struggles and suggests Thomas Tuchel’s side need to understand his strengths
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Former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole has urged the Blues to adapt to Romelu Lukaku’s strengths rather than the other way around as the Belgian is going through a difficult period in his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku, who rejoined Chelsea from Inter Milan for a club record £97.5m in the summer, caused friction when he lashed out at the club’s tactics. His words in an interview with the Italian media prompted him Plain text talks with manager Thomas Tuchel that seemed to have done the trick – at least for a start.
Since the turn of the year, however, Lukaku has not scored a goal First League, while he is often left out of Tuchel’s starting XI. Chelsea have had some significant victories without the Belgian – including against Lille Champions League – but Cole has urged Chelsea to make changes to get the best out of a player who has scored 64 goals in just 95 games in Italy.
“The situation isn’t Lukaku’s, it’s the scouting network, it’s not his fault,” Cole told Mirror Football at Masters Football and bookmaker. com ‘s “Evening With the Hammers” event. “He was never a back-to-go guy, he was always on the shoulder.
“If you see all of his goals last season, or most of them, it’s in the channels – that’s what he’s doing. You can’t hate him for that, that’s his forte and he plays to it. Defenders never like to face their own goal and he made them do it all the time. Chelsea need to change tactics to suit him. If they play a deep line and counter, then maybe that will suit him.
“We saw that against Aston Villa earlier this season. He came in and was just a beast of a striker, just amazing and they were so scared of him. It’s not like he was holding the ball up and being a nuisance. It is like he was on the run, started from deep, they put him in with a through ball, Lukaku comes in at the end, gets into the penalty area and is always a problem for any defender.
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action pics via Reuters)
Cole compared Lukaku’s situation to Tammy Abraham’s. The England striker, like Cole himself, made a number of loan changes from Stamford Bridge before finally deciding he had to make a permanent departure.
“Tammy Abraham, I’m so glad he’s okay,” said Cole. “He made good use of his loans, went to Swansea and Aston Villa and they valued him there, as well as a player.
He’s a real goalscorer, the only criticism I have of Tammy is that he’s not a hold-up man – for his size he should be able to hold the ball and I’ve told him that before . But because he makes up for that with goals, that gets overlooked.
“But in the Premier League you really have to hold the ball up and that’s where I think he fails. In Serie A, he can play on the shoulder, always facing forward. The same goes for Lukaku, who always looks ahead and those types of players score goals.
“It’s deceptive because they have big frames, but they don’t really play like me. I played back to goal, very comfortably back to goal, put the ball in, put it down and got it in the box.
“It’s a dying ability to hold the ball up. Only Harry Kane and a few other players are good at it, Kevin Davies was the best at it. It’s a formula that works, but it’s something dying.”
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