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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel accepts Romelu Lukaku’s apology: ‘Sometimes he carries his heart on his tongue’

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Whether intentional or not — and it would seem to be the latter — in his interview with Sky Italia that emerged last week Romelu Lukaku found himself asking not insignificant questions of Thomas Tuchel’s managerial authority at Chelsea. Those have now been emphatically answered.

Tuchel has drawn a line under the affair, bringing Lukaku back into the Chelsea squad with a view to being involved against Tottenham Wednesday in the EFL Cup semifinals. He has done so with his authority enhanced as Monday’s meeting with the club record signing brought closure to a dramatic five day spell which began when quotes emerged that questioned Tuchel’s methods and hinted at a desire to return to Inter Milan.

Chelsea had been blindsided by Lukaku’s comments, even if they had been made three weeks earlier when he was confined to an impact role off the bench after a hamstring injury. In such circumstances, amid faltering results on the pitch, it is not unknown for the manager to take the blame rather than the $135 million new signing. After all, when Frank Lampard could not convince those above him he could manage Kai Havertz and Timo Werner he was swiftly dispensed with for Tuchel.

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Yet the German had the confidence in his standing to drop Lukaku for Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool, to hold face to face talks with him on Monday and confirm to his happiness that he had a player who wants to be at Chelsea.

Tuchel said: “We were happy that we took the time that was needed to talk calmly. This is what we did. He apologized. He is back in the squad for today’s training session. 

“For me the most important thing was to really understand and believe that it was not intentional to create this kind of noise ahead of a big game [against Liverpool]. The second one was that it was the very first time that he even behaved [badly], even before when in his opinion he was ready to play from the start after his injury and we thought he needs to re-adapt to the intensity a little bit more. There was never the slightest behavior against the team. It was the very first time that we actually felt him this way.

“These are very important points to stay calm and understand it’s not as big as people want it to be. It’s not small but it’s small enough to stay calm, to accept an apology and to move on.

“He is very aware of what happened and what he created. He feels the responsibility to clean the mess up. Maybe we will have a bit of a smell still from it. He can handle it. He has no other choice.”

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Tuchel will offer his support to Lukaku but, using the public medium of the press conference, he left the Belgian in no doubt that he was far from impressed with his actions. It did not make it better, the head coach said, that his star player insisted he remains fully committed to Chelsea. He had believed that his goal scoring return from a spell out due to COVID-19 had brought an end to any issues over form; it was a “big surprise” to see Lukaku question whether he had been too sparingly used.

“Sometimes he carries his heart on his tongue,” Tuchel added. “We should not just blame him and just point on the negative side of it. We have to adapt to the situation. It created some noise that you absolutely don’t want, this is clearly understood, but there are zero doubts in his commitment to the team and the club.”

Among Lukaku’s most notable statements was what appeared to at the very least be an indication that he might find it awkward to adapt into Tuchel’s system, one which generally asks him to lead the line flanked by two inside forwards rather than the strike partner he had at Inter Milan in Lautaro Martinez. Certainly there were occasions after a bright start this season where the 28 year old seemed to be struggling to find the same wavelength as his team mates.

In 12 Premier League and European matches with Lukaku in the side Chelsea have scored 22 goals with a per game expected goals (xG) return of 1.6. In 15 matches without their No.9 they look to be a more devastating attack force, scoring 36 times and registering 2.1 xG per game. The message from Tuchel was clear; the player must adapt to the system, not vice versa.

“With Romelu it’s not about finding positions. He’s a striker, it’s pretty easy. Just put him on the number nine. It’s about adaption to the league, adaption to a different club, to different team-mates. Then comes injury and COVID. We’re in an absolutely total normal place with him.

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“He’s willing to learn. He’s willing to adapt. He comes to the most intense league in the world and it takes its time. He was very strong in the beginning, in the latest games he was very decisive and we have no doubts that he will be a big influence.

“We took our time. It was in a very, very bad moment ahead of a big game. We protected the game and now we have time to clear the air and move on.”

It would appear that the crisis is over. Tuchel did not let it go to waste.



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Watch Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton: How to live stream, TV channel, Saturday’s Premier League game start time

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The Premier League is back in action on Saturday.

Who’s Playing

  • Wolverhampton @ Tottenham Hotspur
  • Current Records: Wolverhampton 0-1-1; Tottenham Hotspur 1-0-1

Paramount+ is the only place to watch every minute of every Serie A match this season, not to mention select games in Italian. Sign up now with offer code ITALY to get a special one month free trial. A subscription also gives you access to other sports content including every UEFA Champions League and Europa League match, the NFL on CBS, and countless movies and shows. Get it all free for 1 month with promo code ITALY.

What to Know

Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton are meeting up for their first leg of the season at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The teams split their matchups last year, with Tottenham winning the first 1-0 on the road and Wolverhampton taking the second 2-0.

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On Sunday, Spurs and Chelsea ended up with a point apiece after a 2-2 draw.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton and Fulham tied 0-0, good for one point each.

The ties rounded out Tottenham’s record to 1-0-1 and Wolverhampton’s to 0-1-1. Three points is up for grabs, so we’ll see if either team can snatch them up this time.

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.  

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How To Watch

  • Who: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton
  • When: Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET
  • Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  • Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: Spurs -260; Draw +375; Wolves +750

Featured Game | Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton

Series History

Tottenham Hotspur have won four out of their last eight games against Wolverhampton.

  • Feb 13, 2022 – Wolverhampton 2 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 0
  • Aug 22, 2021 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 vs. Wolverhampton 0
  • May 16, 2021 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 vs. Wolverhampton 0
  • Dec 27, 2020 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 vs. Wolverhampton 1
  • Mar 01, 2020 – Wolverhampton 3 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2
  • Dec 15, 2019 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 vs. Wolverhampton 1
  • Dec 29, 2018 – Wolverhampton 3 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1
  • Nov 03, 2018 – Tottenham Hotspur 3 vs. Wolverhampton 2



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Jacoby Brissett shares funny story about Eagles’ Nick Sirianni trying to fight fans when two were with Colts

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Nick Sirianni has showcased himself as a passionate head coach since being hired by the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago. Sirianni demonstrated how passionate he can be toward his team when a bouquet of flowers was thrown at him after a November loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year, a moment he doesn’t like to reminiscence about. 

Turns out, Sirianni has unleashed his passion towards his team prior to his days in Philadelphia. Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was the signal-caller for the Indianapolis Colts when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator, shared a good story regarding his former coach and his encounters with fans ahead of the Browns-Eagles preseason matchup Saturday night.

“Remember he was trying to fight fans one time they were booing us,” Brissett said with many laughs from the media in attendance. “A lot of good memories. A great friend. A great coach obviously. I am extremely happy for him and the opportunity that he has been presented. I think he did a great job last year. Excited to see where he goes. I am a big fan of him.”

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Sirianni’s second year as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis was the year Andrew Luck shockingly retired (2019), forcing Brissett into the starting role. Brissett started 15 games for the Colts that season, going 7-8 in his starts while completing 60.2% of his passes for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions for an 88.0 passer rating. Brissett didn’t throw a touchdown pass, nor did he throw for more than 200 yards in his last three games played in 2019, finishing with a passer rating lower than 70 on all three occurrences. 

Brissett and Sirianni were together in Indianapolis for three years before the Eagles hired Sirianni and Brissett signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2021. Sirianni was flattered Brissett shared those fan stories, going into detail why he’s ultra passionate toward his players. 

“He’s teasing and making that up a little bit,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is — and I’ve been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we’re a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I’m the youngest. One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.

“Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective (instinct) — like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. 

“That’s just an instinct that you have. That’s how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that’s been like that with every team I’ve ever coached.”

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Packers’ Matt LaFleur says Jordan Love ‘light years ahead’ of last year: ‘The game has slowed down for him’

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Jordan Love certainly showed the progress the Green Bay Packers wanted from the first preseason game to the second, using the deep ball to give Green Bay optimism in a post-Aaron Rodgers world. Love was accurate on his deep passes that didn’t reflect his overall performance in the box score. 

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur liked what he saw from the former first-round pick, saying he’s “light years ahead” of where he was last year.

“I think the game has slowed down for him,” LaFleur said after Friday’s 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints (via ESPN). “I see a much more decisive player. I think that’s going to lead to a much more effective player.”

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Love finished 12 of 24 for 113 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, yet his performance was highlighted by several drops that affected his night. Love threw a deep pass to seventh-round rookie Samori Toure that wasn’t a completion, and fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs also misread a pass that led to a drop. LaFleur admitted Toure’s ball needed to be caught. 

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The Packers are liking what they’re seeing from Love, throwing accurate deep passes and showcasing his arm strength. The five drops certainly affected Love’s performance — as was the case in his three-interception game last week — yet the Packers have seen enough to be confident in Love if he had to play this year.





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