Thomas Tuchel confessed that he felt a trio of his Chelsea players had been overworked by their national team managers.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of the Champions League tie against Malmo tomorrow, Tuchel acknowledged the burden certain members of the squad were carrying thanks to international commitments.
Thanks to the ferocious fixture schedule, which includes domestic duties, European excursions and flights across the world, the Blues have hardly had a rest since even before the season started.
Such is the calibre of Chelsea’s squad, often the break from club football is not a break at all.
Household names are called up to serve their country, whether that’s for a World Cup qualifier, Nations League clash or just a friendly fixture.
This constant cycle of get-up-and-go has clearly left a tole on a selection of Tuchel’s soldiers.
Romelu running on fumes
Romelu Lukaku is possibly facing a problem from his allegiance to Belgium.
The striker hasn’t scored for Chelsea in six outings but does have nine goals in ten matches for the Red Devils.
“He wants to be out there and win. I know how much he wanted to have a good outcome in the European Championship with Belgium,” proclaimed Tuchel about his centre-forward.
“I feel him a bit-tired mentality. Not like hugely that we have a concern, but for me, he does not fully enjoy without having second thoughts.
“For me, he is overplayed a little bit. It’s difficult to judge.
“Does he really need a break or is better to keep him on the pitch?”
Jorgi out of juice
Lukaku is not alone in feeling weighed down by the flag of his birthplace.
Mason Mount and Jorginho have also failed to hit their dizzying heights this year, potentially a backlash of their deep runs into the Euros.
The pair played in all five fixtures spread across the last two breaks for their respective countries.
“Some other players too. For me, it’s the same with Mason and Jorgi. They struggle,” continued Tuchel.
“They have a lot of weight to carry for their countries and they take it and they love it and they are competitors.
“If you play 1000 times in a season it can feel heavy. They love the game and they are such good guys, but this is what I feel between the lines.”
Footballers want to be on the pitch for every minute available to them.
Yet, sometimes, their bodies simply cannot handle the strain.
Unfortunately for the likes of Lukaku, Jorginho and Mount, their importance to Chelsea means resting while they are back at Stamford Bridge is out of the equation.