Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has defender Romelu Lukaku following his poor performance against Crystal Palace over the weekend. 

The Belgian touched the ball only seven times at Selhurst Park in yet another frustrating afternoon for both the player and the club.

In the end, though, the Blues squeezed a win thanks to Hakim Ziyech’s late goal, helping them keep pace with the leading two teams.

Speaking on Monday in his prematch conference, Tuchel defended the former Man United striker, saying ‘now’s not the time to laugh at him’.

“It’s not the time to laugh about him, he is our player and we will protect him.”

“What can I do? I don’t know. Well, we have to deal with it,” Tuchel added. “The data is out there and speaks the language that he wasn’t in our game.

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