RALPH Hasenhuttl has highlighted enigmatic Romelu Lukaku as “the player Chelsea were missing” ahead of the visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Belgian striker, 28, has graced most of the biggest and most famous stadiums in European football with his ridiculous goalscoring rate – one that’s seen him hit 67 in 100 international appearances.

The tall, powerful forward has made a Premier League return after two seasons at San Siro with Inter Milan that even saw him guide the Serie A title back to the club for the first time in over a decade.

When he left for Italy, departing Manchester United, he left with the feeling that there was still something to prove in the Premier League – despite being the fastest foreigner to reach 100 goals in the division.

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He was still scoring but his all-round performances had dropped off. It appeared as though the Old Trafford cauldron of pressure may have become too much.

Lukaku has returned to London a man invigorated, carrying a frame powerful enough to jostle even the biggest of defenders but with the touch and confidence that he can glide through them too.

Asked about the threat he poses Hasenhuttl’s centre-halves, the boss responded: “It’s not only about being a beast against him but also being clever.

“We have seen yesterday a very good example of how you can play against him. It is not possible to keep him out of the game for 90 minutes he will get a chance or two or whatever, but we must be there.

“He doesn’t need a lot of chances to score and for sure this is the player Chelsea were missing in the past and makes them definitely stronger.”

Daily Echo: Romelu Lukaku scored from the spot against England in October 2020 (Pic: PA)Romelu Lukaku scored from the spot against England in October 2020 (Pic: PA)

Lukaku scored three in as many matches upon return to the Blues, where he played between 2011 and 2014 before moving on to Everton, but hasn’t scored in five since.

He was shut out by Juventus on Wednesday night, as Thomas Tuchel’s side slipped to a 1-0 Champions League defeat in Turin.

But Hasenhuttl knows it will be a mammoth task to repeat the trick, adding: “If you want to be successful there you need to have everything in your game.

“The defending must be very good, high-pressing very good, with the ball good solutions and quick transitions and even then it is tough to create chances against this team.”