Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has blamed Romelu Lukaku’s recent goal drought on mental fatigue from playing too much football.
Lukaku has not scored in 471 minutes for the Blues, his last strike coming in the Champions League fixture against Zenit St Petersburg on September 14.
While the 28-year-old got on the scoresheet against France in the UEFA Nations League, the frontman subsequently had to miss the following match through muscle fatigue.
During his pre-match press conference ahead of the meeting with Malmo, Tuchel claimed that the club-record signing has played too many games in recent months.
Speaking to reporters, Tuchel said: “I feel like Romelu has overplayed. He has played too many competitions, over the summer and in the Nations League. He’s a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he wants to dig in deep. He never takes things easy, he wants to be out there and win.
“I know how much he wanted to have good outcome at the European Championship with Belgium, and in the Nations League. This was a huge match for him, personally, and it means a lot to him to play for his country.
“If that does not work well, he puts it on his shoulders. He thinks about it, reflects about it, and I feel he is a bit mentally tired. Not hugely that we have a concern but he has overplayed.”
In total, Lukaku has netted four goals in nine appearances since returning to Stamford Bridge during the summer.