Thomas Tuchel has admitted the amount of football Romelu Lukaku has played for club and country in recent weeks is something he is keeping a close eye on.
Our forward has started nine games across the Premier League and Champions League this season, producing four goals since his summer move from Inter Milan.
The Belgian also played in the Nations League semi-final against France during the October international break, but withdrew early from the squad due to muscle fatigue, and the amount of minutes he has played so far this term is something of which Tuchel is acutely aware.
‘We are in the process of adapting to each other and in my opinion, I feel Romelu is being overplayed,’ Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference ahead of our game against Malmo on Wednesday. ‘I think he played too many competitions over the summer, with his national team and now the Nations League.
‘He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he wants to win these things. I know how much he wanted to have a good outcome for a European Championship with Belgium and now again in the Nations League, which was a huge match for him personally as it means a lot to him to play for his country, so he takes it really seriously.
‘If that doesn't work well, he always takes it on his shoulders, thinks about it and reflects and I feel he is mentally tired. Not hugely so that we have a concern, but for me he is not fully enjoying it without having second thoughts.
‘It is difficult to judge. Does he really need a break, or is it better to keep him on the pitch? The next national break is coming but this is what I feel particularly for him, and some other players too.’
The Bavarian said he believes Lukaku’s team-mates, such as Mason Mount and Jorginho, are also struggling from tiredness. The pair both reached the Euro 2020 final in the summer with England and Italy respectively.
'They have a lot to take for their countries, they take it, they love it because they are competitors,' the boss said. 'If you like it or not, if you play a thousand matches a year it can feel heavy. They love the game and they are such good guys, but this is what I feel.'