Romelu Lukaku is ‘mentally tired and overplayed’, admits Thomas Tuchel, with Chelsea team-mates Mason Mount and Jorginho suffering too… as they search for a fix for £97m forward after a six-game goal drought and Paolo Di Canio’s ‘dull’ jibes
Thomas Tuchel believes Romelu Lukaku is ‘mentally tired’ with the Chelsea boss claiming that his star striker has been ‘overplayed’ amid his goal drought for the Blues.
The Belgian has hit a slight plateau in recent weeks with no goals in six Premier League games for the Blues.
Yet Tuchel says that his £97.5million man is suffering from a heavy workload, having led the line for Belgium during last summer’s Euro 2020 campaign.
‘We are in the process of adapting to each other. In this moment I feel like Romelu has been overplayed, I think he played too many competitions over the summer, too many competitions with the national team and now the Nations League,’ he said ahead of their European tie with Malmo.
‘He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy, he digs in deep, he wants to win these things, he wants to be out there and win.
‘He wanted a good outcome with Belgium, this was a huge match for him personally, it means a lot for him to play for his country.
‘He always put it on his shoulders but I feel he is a bit tired mentally, he does not fully enjoy without having second thoughts.
‘For me he has been overplayed but once he finds his rhythm and once he finds things a bit easier… but it is difficult to judge if he really needs a break or if we need to keep him on the pitch.’
Tuchel was quick to point out that Lukaku is not his only Chelsea star to be suffering from the burden of leading his country, adding that England’s Mason Mount and Italy’s Jorginho also enjoy taking responsibility with their national sides.
‘Next national break is coming, but this is what I feel particularly for him, some other players too, like with Mason [Mount] and Jorginho, they have a lot of weight to carry for their countries and they take it and they love it and they are competitors and whether you like it or not if you play 1,000 matches a year it can feel heavy.’
Tuchel added that his players’ busy fixture schedule has played a role in their lack of freshness on the pitch, but has told his stars to embrace the challenge in front of them.
‘I think we lack a little bit of form, a little bit of enthusiasm in the last percent and one big reason is because we play too much, not we as a club but the players, I am a big friend of quality not quantity,’ he added.
‘This is the situation right now and what we are facing but this is nothing new and the next international break is coming and will not change. In the opposite we will have other competitions in January and February and things might look a bit harder than it should be but don’t forget we are talking about the Premier League, the toughest league in the world.
‘There is also no shame in having a tight match at Brentford and there is absolutely no shame that you need a late winner against Southampton. It is what it is, it is very important that we don’t feel ashamed and we are not too critical of ourselves.
‘We wanted to be a team nobody likes to play against and we are on a good way.’