Thomas Tuchel says Romelu Lukaku was the type of player Chelsea were missing at the club as he continued his fine run of form with a match-winner against Zenit on Tuesday.

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 defence, the Belgian’s fourth goal in four appearances since returning to the club in the summer.

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.

The Chelsea head 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 .

“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 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 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.”

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