Romelu Lukaku COULD make his Chelsea comeback against Juventus, reveals Thomas Tuchel but is only fit enough for the ‘last minutes’ while Kai Havertz is a doubt with hamstring strain
- Chelsea face Juventus in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday
- Romelu Lukaku has been out injured for a month with damaged ankle ligaments
- Kai Havertz suffered a hamstring problem during Saturday’s win at Leicester
Thomas Tuchel will resist the temptation to rush Romelu Lukaku back into action as Chelsea try to overhaul Juventus and qualify for the Champions League knock-out phase as group winners.
Lukaku, who has missed six games with an ankle injury, returned to full training with the first team on Sunday.
Tuchel will wait for the medics to check on any reaction but has no plans to start with the £97million record signing against Juventus at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, even though Kai Havertz is an injury doubt and the Londoners must win to stop Juve clinching top spot in Group H.
Romelu Lukaku (pictured) could return for Chelsea against Juventus, says Thomas Tuchel
Lukaku damaged ligaments in his ankle during Chelsea’s Champions League win over Malmo
Kai Havertz could miss the clash vs Juve on Tuesday night though due to a hamstring issue
‘We have the chance to bring 20 players into the squad,’ said Chelsea’s head coach when asked about Lukaku.
‘He has the chance to be in the squad for the last minutes. That would be the absolute maximum that we could get out of the situation right now.’
Havertz is doubtful with tight hamstrings but Timo Werner is fit again after a hamstring injury and clear to start.
Werner and Lukaku were both injured in a Champions League win against Malmo last month.
‘We always have options,’ said Tuchel. ‘It’s on the players when they are needed and they have the chance to show their potential. They have to show it. They need to be ready. That’s life at Chelsea.
Timo Werner (right) followed Lukaku off after suffering a hamstring strain against Malmo too
‘This is what they do in a very impressive way. When we have Romelu, we play with Romelu. When we have Timo we play with Timo. When they’re unavailable we try and find solutions. That’s why we are here.
‘That’s why we have a big squad and why we trust everybody. They know what it takes to play for Chelsea. This is it. The attention goes to the guys who are available and who are fit. For the injured guys and the guys who are missing, they get our full attention to get them back on the pitch.’
Tuchel would prefer to qualify as group winners and be seeded in the draw for the last-16 stage, and play the second leg at home, but knows a point against Juventus is enough to guarantee progress with a game to spare.
‘We try to win, this will not change,’ he said. ‘Okay, late in the game, if the score is a draw we will maybe not allow Edou Mendy to leave his box if we have a late corner because we will not risk our qualification and go all in in that situation is like this.
‘But until this moment we will try everything to win the game and the group before that. For this, we have to win it.’
Tuchel (right) knows Chelsea need to beat Juve to boost their chances of topping Group H