Romelu Lukaku has let down Chelsea and undermined manager Thomas Tuchel, says former Blues striker Chris Sutton.
The Belgium striker was dropped from Chelsea’s team for their 2-2 draw with Liverpool after an interview emerged where he expressed his displeasure at his progress since joining this summer.
He returned to training on Monday.
“What was the point of him doing the interview and causing unrest in the changing room?” Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Lukaku, 28, returned to Chelsea for a club-record £97.5m move from Inter Milan in August, having played for the club earlier in his career.
In an interview with Sky Sports Italia recorded three weeks ago, but only broadcast on New Year’s Eve, he said he was “not happy with the situation” of being a bit-part player and would like to play for Inter again.
After a bright start to the season, Lukaku’s scoring dried up with a mix of injuries and Covid hampering his progress, but after talks with Tuchel he had scored twice in his past two Premier League games.
But the German then dropped him because of the “noise” around the club as a result from that Italian interview.
Lukaku was due to talk with Tuchel on Monday, with the results of that conversation not yet known.
Sutton said: “He has undermined the manager publicly. Tuchel had to take action because if he didn’t he would lose respect of the players.
“What was his motive? This isn’t a 19-year-old, this is a guy who has been around. I thought he would be the difference this season at Chelsea.
“It hasn’t been blown up, he said he is unhappy at Chelsea and that can only cause unrest.
“It was calculated what he did, a guy with a big ego, a big reputation. This was all unnecessary. Every action has a consequence.”
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards said it was not “so bad as people are trying to make out”.
“A lot of his comments were more like when you are speaking to your mates,” he said.
“If he had said it in this country, I would agree it was really bad. But he went from hero to zero in Italy when he left, so the interview was to go out there and put the Inter fans at ease. He slipped up by trying to be honest, he has not done it deliberately.
“I agree he has done wrong and the manager has to take a stance but why should he say what the people expect him to say? He is known as an outspoken footballer, Chelsea knew that when they signed him.
“Of course a fan would be raging because at the end of the day the club is more important than any player.”