Fabio Capello has theory on why Romelu Lukaku excelled in Italy but is flopping at Chelsea


Decorated former manager Fabio Capello has offered a theory as to why Romelu Lukaku is struggling in Thomas Tuchel’s system at Chelsea having starred for Inter in Serie A

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Thomas Tuchel discusses recent form of Romelu Lukaku ahead of Lille match

Former England boss Fabio Capello has explained why Romelu Lukaku is struggling at Chelsea having previously thrived at Inter.

The Belgian striker became the most expensive player in Chelsea’s history when they spent £97million to secure his signature from the Italian champions last summer.

The 28-year-old has found the net just 10 times in 28 appearances for the Blues this season in his second spell with the club, having originally left Stamford Bridge permanently in 2014.

Having gone on to have spells with Everton and Manchester United, it was in Italy with Inter which the striker truly found his top form with 64 goals across the space of two seasons.

The Belgian was widely recognised as the best player in Serie A last season where he spearheaded the Milanese club’s first league title in 11 years.

Have Your Say! Are Chelsea a stronger XI without Lukaku? Tell us what you think here.

Yet things have not gone to plan for the striker at Chelsea and Saturday was a low point for the striker, as he had just seven touches across 90 minutes against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

That was the lowest number of touches on the ball for a player in the Premier League since records began for a player who stayed on the pitch for the full match.

That led to the striker being benched for the Blues Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie against Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

Former boss Capello was talking to Italian TV ahead of the action getting underway and explained why he had enjoyed more success in Italy than in the Premier League.

Capello explained to Sky Sport Italia, as per Football Italia: “Lukaku fit perfectly into (Antonio) Conte’s counter-attacking style at Inter, because there were lots of spaces, he had this physical strength and pace that allowed him to flatten the defenders in Serie A.

“However, Chelsea play this very different type of football with lots of short passes and Lukaku doesn’t have the same spaces to move in. He also finds that in England the defenders have a similar physicality to him and hold out more.

“Lukaku had this power and space to run at defenders and turn the game around.”

On Saturday, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel shrugged his shoulders when asked if Lukaku having only seven touches was down to the formation, telling beIN SPORTS: “No. No, it’s not about system.”

Asked to elaborate on the performance of Lukaku, he continued: “Well it is what it is.

“But it is for him no change of system because it’s the same attacking structure.

“We always attack in a 4-1, it’s just for the build-up sometimes we build-up in a 3-2 and sometimes in a 4-1. For him it changed nothing.”

In his post-match press conference, Tuchel said when asked about Lukaku’s performance: “I’m not so sure if I have a good answer for your question, I don’t know.

“Obviously he was not involved and could not make a point today. I’m not sure if it says so much about us in general.”

There will now be serious doubts as to whether Chelsea’s club-record signing will be a regular in the line-up for the closing months of the campaign.