‘Overplayed’ Romelu Lukaku could be put to rest by Chelsea against Malmö

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‘Overplayed’ Romelu Lukaku could be put to rest by Chelsea against Malmö


Thomas Tuchel has said he is considering resting Romelu Lukaku after suggesting the Chelsea striker’s drought in goals was due to mental fatigue.

Lukaku was seen as the last piece of the puzzle after joining Chelsea from Internazionale last summer, but his performances fell after an encouraging start. The £ 97.5million striker has failed to score in his last six appearances and his lackluster form worries Tuchel, who must decide whether to give the Belgium international a chance to regain his rhythm when the European Champions host Malmö in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

“We are adapting to each other,” said the Chelsea manager. “I think Romelu is a bit overplayed. I think he played in too many competitions over the summer. He played in the Nations League and he’s a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy he never takes it easy.

“He wanted to have a good result for the European Championship with Belgium and now in the Nations League, it was a huge match for him. If it doesn’t work out well, he always puts it on his shoulders.

“I can tell he’s mentally tired. Not that we have huge concerns, just that he doesn’t fully appreciate playing without a second thought. He’s a little over-the-top. It’s hard to judge if he needs a break or is it better to keep him on the pitch?

Belgium came out of Euro 2020 in the last eight, and France reached the final of the League of Nations at its expense a fortnight ago. The concern is that Tuchel, who added that players are asked to play too many matches, was using diversionary tactics by referring to Lukaku’s international exploits.

There could be another explanation for the 28-year-old’s difficulties. Lukaku, who has scored four goals in his first four appearances for Chelsea, has not been on the same page as his teammates recently and Tuchel has been asked if replacing his 3-4-3 system with something more offensive could increase his team’s threat.

Quick guide

Chelsea v Malmö: probable teams

Spectacle

Chelsea Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rüdiger; James, Kanté, Jorginho, Chilwell; Havertz, Mont; Lukaku.
Submarines Arrizabalaga, Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Alonso, Christensen, Sarr, Chalobah, Saúl, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Werner.
Injured Pulisic (ankle, October 23)

Malmö Dahlin; Larsson, Moisander, Nielsen, Brorsson, Berget; Christiansen, Rakip, Innocent; Birmancevic, Colak.
Submarines Diawara, Ellborg, Eile, Olsson, Peña, Gall, Nalic, Nanasi, Gwargis, Abubakari, Björqvist, Rieks.

Doubt Rieks (personal reasons)

Injured Bejimo (shoulder), Knudsen, Toivonen, Lewicki (all knees)

Suspended Ahmedhodzic

Thank you for your opinion.

“We can take this step when we are fully convinced and when it is the time to put in more attacking players, but it is also a question of balance,” he said. “This game is about balance and we have found a balance. There are also many reasons to stay in our structure.

Chelsea, second in Group H after losing to Juventus last month, will be without Christian Pulisic. The US winger has been absent since injuring his ankle on international duty in September.

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“There is nothing to fear in terms of details and that we are hiding details,” Tuchel said. “He had a few painful setbacks. No serious injury or complications. It’s just the ankle pain that’s bothering him.

“Once these players with fast movements feel that pain and they’re not free to move, the recovery doesn’t happen. He was so close to coming to team training last week and had a little setback.

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