Romelu Lukaku set to join as Chelsea FC bring more silverware home with Super Cup
Chelsea landed their first silverware of the season as Romelu Lukaku touched down to put the seal on his £97.5million move from Inter Milan.
While Thomas Tuchel delivered Roman Abramovich the one European trophy absent from his collection — the Super Cup — the Russian billionaire has handed his manager a player both believe can be the missing piece in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
The club-record fee agreed for Lukaku, who flew into London yesterday, is a statement of intent from Chelsea in their bid to end Manchester City’s dominance. And a 6-5 penalty shootout win against Villarreal, after a 1-1 draw in Belfast, was evidence of Tuchel’s hunger for more success, less than three months since his Champions League triumph.
Even on the eve of the new season, the German was prepared to gamble on the fitness of key players to secure his second trophy at the club. And his masterstroke of bringing on Kepa in the last minute of extra time to give the goalkeeper the chance to be the shootout hero underlined his determination to start the campaign on a winning note.
It paid off, with the Spain international saving spot-kicks from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol to spark celebrations comparable to those in Porto in May.
Tuchel said: “We had all these discussions and thoughts. Do we share minutes? Do we continue the preparation phase? Do we use this match to be ready for Saturday? We decided no, we use this match to win it and nothing else.”
But Tuchel is waiting to learn the cost of the exertions, with little time to prepare for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
Hakim Ziyech was injured just before half-time to bring a sad end to what had been a hugely impressive performance from the Moroccan, who opened the scoring after 27 minutes. He was left clutching his shoulder after an awkward fall and wore a sling as Chelsea celebrated at the end.
“If you take a player out during the first half, it is serious,” said Tuchel. “It was unfortunate because he has been a very decisive player in the last games.”