Lukaku says he needed an 'impactful performance' after injury, covid

by IANS |

London, Dec 28 (IANS) Romelu Lukaku has endured some difficult times this season but the Belgian forward came off the bench to score a goal and win a penalty that helped Chelsea win against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Lukaku on Monday felt his decisive impact from the bench was exactly what he needed as he returned to action following a frustrating time out with injury and Covid-19.

The 28-year-old forward has not started a Premier League game since the 1-0 win at Brentford in mid-October, as he missed more than a month with the ankle injury he suffered in the Champions League win over Malmo, and was then ruled out again following a positive Covid test, just as he was approaching full fitness.

So, on Sunday when he got the opportunity to come off the bench, the Belgian was determined to make an impact in the match at Aston Villa. Coming off the bench at half-time with the scores level, Lukaku showed the Chelsea fans what they have been missing by scoring a goal to put the Blues in front for the first time in the game and then winning the penalty which made the three points safe late on.

"I think I needed a performance like this," Lukaku told Chelsea's official website after the match. "It's been difficult getting back in. Every footballer wants to be on the pitch, but I kept working hard. It was good for us to win and, for myself personally, I'm happy with my performance and I have to push on."

His two most eye-catching moments at Villa Park came as he outsmarted Tyrone Mings to make the space to head in his goal just over 10 minutes after being introduced, and then the powerful run which beat two defenders, and led to the penalty.

Lukaku admitted they showed two very different parts to his game - one the instinctive drive towards goal he has always enjoyed and the other the clever centre-forward play which he has worked hard to add to his skillset, said a report on Chelsea's official website.

"The goal was just movement," he explained. "For balls like crosses and stuff, throughout the years my movement in the box has gotten better. I try to be less static, I try to be on the move all the time. The cross was brilliant and I just came across him," he added.

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