Tuchel gives his view on Lukaku’s fitness ahead of Everton clash

Thomas Tuchel has suggested that Romelu Lukaku is still not ready to play 90 minutes for Chelsea.

The striker has been eased back since a recent ankle injury and will be hoping to play the full game against his former club Everton on Thursday night.

Blues boss Tuchel was asked at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon whether Lukaku is now back to full fitness.

He replied: “This we can debate endlessly – what is fit and what is not fit.

“The player will say ‘I’m fit’. Maybe some fitness coaches will agree or disagree and then comes the head coach who agrees or disagrees.

“It depends also on the game and maybe the intensity level of the game.

“We let him play 70-something minutes against Zenit and we had a lot of travelling and lack of sleep and a very intensive opponent in Leeds.

“I think he can play 70-plus (minutes) but it depends on how the game goes.”

Tuchel also confirmed that N’Golo Kante will be among Chelsea’s substitutes for Thursday’s game.

The Frenchman, out since limping off during last month’s Champions League thrashing of Juventus, returned to training this week and is back in the Blues squad along with Trevoh Chalobah, but Mateo Kovacic is still unavailable.