apology | 

Gary Neville on what Romelu Lukaku needs to do next after his Chelsea fall-out

Lukaku suggested he was unhappy at Chelsea and was eyeing up a return to Italy
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has fallen foul of manager Thomas Tuchel (Adam Davy/PA)

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has fallen foul of manager Thomas Tuchel (Adam Davy/PA)

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville believes Romelu Lukaku should apologise for his explosive interview that led to him being left out of Chelsea's line-up for Sunday's game against Liverpool.

Lukaku suggested he was unhappy at Chelsea and was eyeing up a return to Italy, with boss Thomas Tuchel forced to drop his £97.5million striker from one of the biggest games of the season as a result of his comments.

Former United defender Neville was outspoken in his criticism of Lukaku in his final days at Manchester United and now he has given a withering assessment of the Belgian striker's interview.

"If I was a Chelsea fan today, or a Chelsea coach or owner, I'd feel really disappointed by my player saying that, particularly when you've invested so much in him," Neville told Sky Sports.

"What I would expect of Romelu Lukaku in the next few days is a "sorry, I didn't mean it."

"He could say: "Look, I said the words I said, maybe I should have held them to myself but they were the truth. However, I will commit to my team-mates, I am sorry I caused the problems that I have caused to my team-mates in the build-up to a big game." That's the thing he has to apologise for.

"So the best he can do is ask for forgiveness in the dressing room with his team-mates.

"Players ordinarily forgive each other, they've all been in situations where they've made mistakes and you say "right, okay coach, he can come back in."

"I think Romelu Lukaku will have been watching that game, suffering a little bit I think, knowing he would want to be out there with his team-mates."

Neville went on to reflect on Lukaku's final few months at United, as he appeared to lack commitment to the cause in the opening months of 2019.

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"Romelu Lukaku was at my club and I didn't shed a tear at all when he left my club," he continued.

"He didn't say he wanted to leave openly all the time but you could just tell. He didn't want to be there, he wasn't committed.

"I didn't think he was the most professional and I didn't think he was a Manchester United player.

"I knew he was an outstanding player and I knew he would go and score a bagful of goals wherever he went but he wasn't right for the club."

Neville suggested there is a way back for Lukaku at Chelsea, as he suggested Chelsea boss Tuchel had to drop the player to re-establish his authority.

"Tuchel has established that he is the boss, the owners have established that they are willing to support the manager over the player and the team-mates have gone out on the pitch and performed absolutely brilliantly without him," he added/

"Lukaku will be reintegrated - I don't believe it's a case of he leaves the club, get him out in January - he can be reintegrated.

"I saw it at Man United a couple of times when players made mistakes, they made their desire to leave known and the manager said 'no, you're not leaving."

"And they were integrated, they were forgiven and they did perform well for the club in the future. I think Lukaku coming back in could be a different Romelu Lukaku."

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