‘It will take a while’: Chelsea face striker shortage as Lukaku and Werner limp off

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel has been left with a selection crisis in attack after Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner limped off during the first half of Chelsea’s 4-0 win against Malmö in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Related: Chelsea’s swagger returns in Champions League rout of Malmö

Chelsea’s manager said the duo were both likely to “be out for some matches” after they were forced off against the Swedish champions at Stamford Bridge. Lukaku, who has gone seven games without a goal, sustained an ankle injury as he won an early penalty and Werner had to go off with a hamstring injury.

Both strikers are likely to be absent against Norwich City on Saturday, while Christian Pulisic is also struggling with a persistent ankle problem.

“I don’t know too much more,” Tuchel said. “Romelu twisted his ankle in the box and Timo has a hamstring injury. It will take a while for both of them. We need more examinations to be more precise but they will be out for some matches.”

Tuchel, whose side are three points below Juventus at the top of Group H, defended his decision to play Lukaku against Malmö. He had suggested the Belgium international was struggling with mental fatigue before the game and had raised the possibility of resting him.

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“If I knew before I wouldn’t have done it,” Tuchel said. “It was important he was on the pitch and he started very strong. I spoke with him about the situation, told him that I think he has some mental fatigue.

“But he is our No 9 and is our reference. We wanted to build our attack today with Mason [Mount] and Timo around him and I had the strong belief that in a Champions League match he could turn things around and turn things around in scoring and being decisive, which he did because he was super strong in our start. Without him maybe it’s not 2-0. So I don’t regret it. It’s not a muscle injury or physical fatigue.”

Chelsea were rampant despite the injury blows. Andreas Christensen gave them an early lead, Jorginho scored two penalties and Kai Havertz got on the scoresheet after replacing Lukaku.

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