EPL

Lukaku vows to keep working after achieving Chelsea 'childhood dream'

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

Romelu Lukaku finally scored at Stamford Bridge and declared it a "childhood dream" fulfilled as his double sank Aston Villa.

Chelsea scored a battling 3-0 win over a Villa side who gave as good as they got in the first half, with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel admitting they had him worried.

It was Lukaku's lethal finishing that proved key, though, as he slotted a clinical opener and smashed in a clincher in second-half stoppage time.

Those were his only two shots of the game, as Chelsea secured their 600th Premier League win. Manchester United were previously the only team in the league's history to reach that tally.

Chelsea's other goal came from Mateo Kovacic, who pounced on a short backpass from Tyrone Mings to clip in a classy finish early in the second half, taking some of the sting out of Villa.

This was Lukaku's 15th game at Stamford Bridge, spread across appearances representing Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United, and it was the first time he got on the scoresheet.

"I've waited. It's been my dream since I was 11. I've worked hard for this moment," Lukaku said. "It's a childhood dream for me. I'm very happy to be in this situation, but the work has to keep going."

The £97.5million signing from Inter has made a stunning start to his second spell at Chelsea, having barely made an impact on the first team in his previous stint.

Lukaku's opening goal saw him show quick feet to get past Axel Tuanzebe before finishing in style, and the second was a shot into the top-left corner from just inside the penalty area.

"Playing in Italy, I was playing in a league where I would have one or two chances in a game and I had to take them," Lukaku said on Sky Sports, explaining his precision.

"With the experience and the hard work and my team-mates understanding me, I'm very happy with the situation I'm in."

Lukaku was a team-mate of Tuanzebe at United and explained that gave him the knowhow when it came to stepping inside the defender's challenge and offloading a shot with his right foot.

"I've played with Tuanzebe back in the day and he knows I'm left-footed," Lukaku said.

The 28-year-old's delightful second was a satisfying way to cap Chelsea's day.

"The contact was good. I hit it cleanly and the touch was good," Lukaku said. "I got it out of my feet quickly. That's just work, a lot of finishing day-in and day-out. That's just pure training."

Tuchel was concerned by Villa's sharp performance before the interval, but he said Chelsea were "more controlled, more fluid" in the second half. He felt others could have done better with chances for the hosts but had no complaints about Lukaku.

"He is full of confidence and totally aware of what he's going to do, what he wants to do," Tuchel said. "He is absolutely confident to score and that helped us a lot."

Tuchel fielded new recruit Saul Niguez in his starting XI but substituted the Spanish midfielder at half-time.

The addition from Atletico Madrid struggled to get to grips with the high-tempo game on his debut, winning just one of nine duels and giving away a team-high three fouls.

"Saul had a bit of trouble to adapting to the intensity and our structure and style of play and the intensity of the Premier League," Tuchel said.

The Chelsea boss said making the change and bringing on Jorginho in Saul's place was "hard to do", but pointed out: "He had some big mistakes, passing mistakes and errors. You could see he was not fully adapted."

Tuchel insisted the 45-minute outing for Saul could be brushed aside, declaring it his own responsibility that the selection did not work out.

"I'm happy because we escaped with a perfect result on a perfect evening for our striker," Tuchel added.

Related items

  • Atletico must have 'peace of mind' despite Champions League defeat, says Simeone Atletico must have 'peace of mind' despite Champions League defeat, says Simeone

    Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid must have "peace of mind" despite their poor Champions League campaign to date following a 2-0 defeat to Club Brugge.

    Kamal Soweh and Ferran Jutgla were on target as the surprise Group B leaders made it three wins out of three and left Atleti bottom with three games to play.

    Fellow rivals Bayer Leverkusen and Porto also sit on three points alongside the LaLiga club, with Brugge holding a six-point advantage at the summit.

    Simeone took the positives out of the loss to the Belgian champions at Jan Breydel Stadium, where Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty.

    "It was a game well played," the Atleti head coach told Movistar. "I think we controlled the game we wanted to play. I'm left with a lot of good things.

    "There are a lot of Champions League games left to play. You have to have peace of mind, you don't have to get anxious. Everything is open."

    The Argentine was left to rue his side's profligacy, but praised Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

    "We had two or three important chances to score, and a lack of forcefulness means Brugge went into half-time with an advantage," he added.

    "But from then on, their key figure was their goalkeeper, without a doubt. We'll have to see if there is a lack of forcefulness to our performance.

    "We do not need to lower our arms, lower our guard. There are good things, and there are things that clearly need to be corrected."

  • Klopp backs Nunez to soon get off the mark at Anfield after Rangers frustration Klopp backs Nunez to soon get off the mark at Anfield after Rangers frustration

    Jurgen Klopp says it will only be a matter of time before Darwin Nunez gets his first Liverpool goal at Anfield after the striker failed to find the net against Rangers.

    Liverpool ran out comfortable 2-0 victors against Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side in the Champions League, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah on target.

    Allan McGregor was forced into eight saves to keep the scoreline down, while Nunez had more shots than any Liverpool player in the match – finding the target with four of his attempts.

    The former Benfica striker's six efforts were the most a Liverpool player has had without scoring in a Champions League group stage game since Sadio Mane against Salzburg in December 2019 (also six).

    Despite just the sole strike to Nunez's name in the Reds' first Premier League game of the season at Fulham, Klopp insists the 23-year-old will soon get off the mark at home.

    "I think you can see that. The way the boys moved together up front today was extremely good for just one [training] session," Klopp said of his attackers responding to a change in shape against Rangers.

    "We only had one session, low intensity because we only played recently, so it showed how good a striker he is, getting into these situations. Everybody saw tonight, this will happen."

    Liverpool trail Group A leaders Napoli, who hammered Ajax 6-1 on Tuesday, by three points ahead of a return trip to Rangers next week after visiting Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

  • 'Maradona will have been proud' – Spalletti revels as Napoli hit Ajax for six 'Maradona will have been proud' – Spalletti revels as Napoli hit Ajax for six

    Luciano Spalletti declared "even Diego Maradona will have been proud" after Napoli thrashed Ajax 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    Despite falling behind to Mohammed Kudus' ninth-minute opener in Amsterdam, Spalletti's side responded with goals from Giacomo Raspadori, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Piotr Zielinski putting them 3-1 up at the break.

    The visitors' task was made easier after Dusan Tadic's second-half dismissal; Raspadori and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia increasing the advantage, before Giovanni Simeone sealed an emphatic victory.

    Spalletti referenced the late Maradona after Napoli scored six times in a European game for the first time in their history, while Ajax suffered their heaviest defeat in all competitions since November 1964.

    "When you go into a stadium like this, with that roar there, it's not easy to immediately regain the conviction in pressing and recovering after going a goal down," the Napoli coach told reporters. 

    "It could have disturbed us a lot, but the team did the things it had to do; they never let themselves be influenced and won a great match.

    "More than the result, it is beautiful as the performance shows us our qualities; the boys played important football and will benefit because they have all seen it. They played very good plays, even Maradona will have been proud tonight."

    Continuing their perfect start to the competition after making it three wins from three, Napoli are three points clear of Liverpool at the halfway point in Group A, and in the driving seat to reach the knockout stages.

    "With this victory, we have excellent chances [to qualify], but we have to achieve other results," Spalletti added. "What gives context is the quality of the opponents who we produced this performance against, they are a great club."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.