Romelu Lukaku has apologised to Thomas Tuchel for his comments in a recent interview and will return to the squad for this week's Carabao Cup clash, the Chelsea boss confirmed.
Lukaku was dropped for Sunday's Premier League draw with Liverpool after comments he made in an interview recorded three weeks ago.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of the semi-final first-leg game against Tottenham Hotspur, Tuchel said the pair had a meeting on Monday about the comments.
"He apologised and is back in the squad for today's training," Tuchel said.
"We have given it time to look back on. For me, the most important thing was to understand - and clearly understand - it was not intentional. He did not do this intentionally to create this kind of noise in front of a big game."
The interview in question was recorded in December, and Chelsea's club record £97.5m signing said he was "not happy" with his bit-part role under Tuchel and that he would like to return to Inter Milan 'soon'.
As a result, he was dropped for Sunday's two-all draw with Liverpool.
It had been rumoured on a US Broadcast of the game that a meeting was due to take place. Former Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard claimed to have been texting Lukaku and that the striker confirmed a meeting would take place on Monday.
🚨Romelu Lukaku to @TimHowardGK:
“I can’t say too much. The situation is hot. I have another meeting on Monday. After that, I can say more”
Tim Howard has been texting with Lukaku according to @NBCSportsSoccer pic.twitter.com/jkktTiZuSD
— Evan (@evmilho) January 2, 2022
The matter has been put to bed for the time being though, according to Tuchel, who says that Lukaku's attitude had never been in question before this.
"Even before, when he seemed to be, in his opinion, ready to play after his injury from the start and we thought he needed to readapt to the intensity a little bit more, there was never the slightest behaviour against the team.
"So, it was the very first time that he felt in this way. It's very important to stay calm and understand it's not as big as maybe people want it to be."
Lukaku has scored seven goals in 18 appearances since he rejoined Chelsea from Italian champions Inter Milan last August.
Tuchel said Lukaku is "aware of what he has created", adding that the striker "feels the responsibility to clean up the mess".
The manager added: "He is still our player and we have good, good reasons to make him play for us and convince him to fight hard."
Lukaku has also been hampered by injury and illness since returning to Stamford Bridge and, at times, was left out of the starting line-up even when fit.
However, he has had a recent upturn in form, scoring in his past two Premier League appearances, after discussions about his role with Tuchel.
Manchester United must rebuild around Bruno Fernandes, not Cristiano Ronaldo
Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!
Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.