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Cech explains why Lukaku’s first spell at Chelsea didn’t work out

Romelu Lukaku
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The Blues legend gave his two cents on what led to Romelu Lukaku failing to make his mark during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.

Petr Cech has suggested inexperience and world-class competition were Romelu Lukaku’s biggest problems during his first spell at Chelsea.

The Belgian sealed a dream €15 million move to Chelsea from Anderlecht as an 18-year-old in 2011. But he never got his big break, managing a meager 15 appearances overall. He instead spent the bulk of his time on loan before Jose Mourinho sold him to Everton for €35.6m in 2014.

A successful two-year spell under former Blues coach Antonio Conte at Inter Milan, however, has since established Lukaku as a world-class attacker, paving the way for a club-record €115m return to Chelsea this summer.

He scored on his second debut against Arsenal last month and hopes to continue supplying the goals for Thomas Tuchel’s men.

“When you start playing at the age of 16 years old in a top professional league like the Belgian one and you start scoring goals, it obviously shows that you have a talent and some potential,” Cech, who played in goal for Chelsea during Lukaku’s first spell, told the club’s website.

“When he moved to Chelsea, he had the disadvantage at that time that Didier Drogba was at the full peak of his form and his ability. Didier was scoring goals, and we knew exactly how to use him.

“When Romelu arrived at Chelsea, his hold-up game was not the same as it is now, because at Anderlecht he was used to concentrating on running. He would get the ball and kill everybody with speed, power and his finishing. At Chelsea at that time, we used the number nine in a slightly different way for the hold-up play, and also it’s a more challenging league than Belgium.”

The Chelsea technical and performance advisor added: “He needed a little bit of time to adapt. His career took a different path, and he’s been successful everywhere he’s been. Over the years he has obviously improved and you can see when he talks that he was conscious about needing to improve this part of his game.”