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Chelsea's Lukaku returns for League Cup semi-final

Chelsea's Lukaku returns for League Cup semi-final

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku during the warm up before the match. (Photo: REUTERS/David Klein)

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku returned to the starting lineup for the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, a day after he apologised for saying he was dissatisfied with his role at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku was left out of the squad for the 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool at the weekend after telling Sky Italy that he was not happy with the "situation" at Chelsea and would like to return to Italy some time in the future.

In a video released on Chelsea's website on Tuesday, Lukaku said he was sorry for the upset he had caused.

"I am happy he is on the pitch today," manager Thomas Tuchel told the club's website before Wednesday's game.

"We can listen to this interview 100 times and it will not get better, but we can shift our focus. We accept it happened, he has accepted it happened, and we have enough reasons to move on.

"Now we need to protect him and push him because he's our player and we want him to, and he wants to be, a key player."

The 28-year-old Belgium international signed for Chelsea from Inter Milan in the close season for a club-record fee of £97.5 million (US$132.5 million). He has scored seven times in 18 games across all competitions this season.

Tuchel also said that defender Thiago Silva and midfielder N'Golo Kante were out of Wednesday's squad after testing positive for COVID-19.

"It's huge for us because they are two huge players. We had the last information today in the morning, so it is quite challenging, but we will push. The guys who are here have our trust and our belief," Tuchel added.

Source: Reuters/ec

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