Romelu Lukaku’s fine header in the second half settled a tight affair as Chelsea beat the Russians 1-0 on the opening night of their Champions League defense, the Belgian’s fourth goal in four appearances since returning to the club in the summer.
Although Tuchel was full of superlatives for Lukaku after the game, and not only for his performances on the pitch, with Chelsea unbeaten this season and looking ominously strong.
However, Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea head coach said: “The performance from Romelu was not easy. We didn’t create many chances for him but he’s the type of guy who doesn’t lose confidence and belief. And that is why he is a world-class striker.
“He’s super important, it’s as easy as that. You don’t find many strikers of his quality. We did win also without Romelu and produced results. But he was the type of profile we were missing, not just because of the talent but because of the personality. He is such a humble guy, a super communicator in the dressing room, and that creates a certain energy around him in the team that we are proud of and what to have.
“The spirit and atmosphere last year took us very far and it’s important we have it again. We have it with Romelu, he knows what the club is about. We have him and we are very pleased because he gives everybody around him confidence.”
Meanwhile, after scoring with four of his six shots on target this season, Tuchel said Lukaku’s clinical edge gives the team and crowd confidence that a goal is coming.
“There are not many goals in football and goals change the momentum of the match. It gives the whole team belief that one chance is enough for him to score. So it’s not only talent he brings, he brings belief and takes pressure off the shoulders of other guys around him.
“He has the personality not to lose confidence. He is at a very high level and we are very happy to have him with us.”