EPL

Lukaku: I was dominant against Arsenal but I have a long way to go

By Sports Desk August 22, 2021

Romelu Lukaku suggested he can improve further after a "dominant" second Chelsea debut in the 2-0 win at Arsenal.

Lukaku, appearing for the first time since his £97.5million (€115m) move from Inter, opened the scoring at Emirates Stadium, nine years and 360 days on from his first Blues bow.

Reece James, the creator of the first, then thrashed in the second before half-time and Chelsea were in complete control thereafter.

Lukaku could not add to his 15th-minute strike but finished with eight attempts worth a combined 1.41 expected goals – the highest such non-penalty total for a Premier League player in a match this season.

The 28-year-old also contested 15 duels in an outstanding all-round display.

Asked if the day could have gone any better, Lukaku told Sky Sports: "No, no, no. I'm very happy with the win. We played very well, we dominated, we could have scored more.

"To be honest, coming here with this performance, it's good, we have to continue like that."

Describing his own performance, the forward added: "Dominant, I would say. Dominant. I try to improve every time. I have a long way to go.

"But today was good, to win and to start well, and now we have to keep working, keep building, keep getting stronger.

"The Premier League is a very competitive league, but we're ready for the challenge and hopefully we can improve on this."

Lukaku also created three chances for his team-mates and was keen to praise them, too.

"You want to work hard for the team," he said. "You want to win, you want to score, you want to create chances.

"It's something that I've learned, that I've worked on really hard, and I keep working on it.

"This team is very, very talented – they're the European champions but they want to keep building and I want to continue winning. We have to keep fighting, keep working hard and keep delivering performances like this."

Lukaku has transformed his reputation by leading Inter to the Serie A title after leaving Manchester United, but he believes there is more to his game than he was able to show on Sunday.

"I think you saw parts," he explained. "You saw a lot, but not only from me. The team adapted really well.

"I asked a lot of questions to the players and they helped a lot, they made life very comfortable for me.

"So, I wasn't stressed when I came into the game, I was very focused and there was one thing on my mind: just win the game. We did today and I'm very delighted for the club, for the fans, and let's keep building.

"It's good to start like this. I worked hard throughout the week, the team worked hard throughout the week. We knew it was a big, big game for us, everybody was watching us, and we did well.

"As an individual, I try to help the team. I said I want to add something different to the team – hopefully I did – and I was to continue doing that to help the team win. That's the most important thing."

Coach Thomas Tuchel said of his new number nine: "I'm very happy with how he has integrated already. He's a very smart guy. He is a very democratic leader, talks to everybody as a leader and is very humble and competitive.

"He gives something to our game we didn't have as he protects the ball so we can play direct.

"You can't start better than with a goal and almost scored a second but it was a big save from [Bernd] Leno. It's a good start but we have to improve from here.

"I didn't expect too much. I wanted to be open to watch him to see his strengths and capability to adapt and link up with [Kai] Havertz and [Mason] Mount. The guys like to play with each other."

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