Thomas Tuchel refused to lavish praise on resurgent striker Romelu Lukaku in the wake of Chelsea’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Wolves.
Lukaku struck his first league goals of 2022 as Chelsea powered into a 2-0 second-half lead, only to let the win slip through their fingers in front of prospective new owner Todd Boehly.
Belgium hitman Lukaku has endured a difficult Chelsea tenure ever since his Italian television interview released in January where he admitted being unsettled at Stamford Bridge.
The £98million club-record signing jumped back to the top of Chelsea’s scoring charts by taking his season’s tally to 14 in all competitions with a smart double against Wolves, showing signs of a return to form.
A frustrated Tuchel rejected the chance to build up Lukaku, however, with the galling capitulation weighing heavily on the German coach’s mind.
Chelsea will hope Lukaku can reinvigorate his Stamford Bridge career and realise his full potential in west London but Tuchel insisted the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s draw was not the time to map out that route.
Asked whether Lukaku had turned the corner with his goal brace, Tuchel replied: “Yeah but guys, okay, good performance but this is for sure not the moment to talk about individual performances and praise individual players.
“We do this as a team and we lost points, crucial points. This is not the moment to praise individuals.”
Lukaku won and then converted a second-half penalty to fire the Blues into the lead before latching onto Christian Pulisic’s through ball to double the home lead just two minutes later.
Francisco Trincao and Conor Coady cancelled out Chelsea’s lead, however, leaving the Blues winless in their last three league outings and Tuchel bemoaning a victory relinquished in frustrating fashion.
“At some point we played like we were 2-0 down not 2-0 up,” said Tuchel.
“I don’t think we were too deep, I think it was the opposite, and then we tried to respond to it and change the structure.
“So I don’t know if that was the right decision from me, I need to watch it again.
“But in general it’s a lack of execution, of discipline and execution of the match plan throughout the whole half. If you get punished for it, if it’s fair or not it’s not worth discussing.”
Wolves were without boss Bruno Lage due to Covid-19, leaving coach Tony Roberts to hail a well-earned point for the visitors.
“We’re buzzing obviously,” said Roberts.
“To come here, the home of the European champions and FA Cup finalists, to go 2-0 down which we’re disappointed by, but then to come back: it’s unbelievable.
“But the boys are disappointed we haven’t won it, we had some great chances.
“We’ve got the point but we should have had all three.
“We’ve been going through a bad patch but we spoke during the week about our strength and spirit of the group.
“To keep on going, keep on going, it just shows how strong they are.
“We need to do that now for the next three games because we want to try to get into Europe.”