When Romelu Lukaku was recruited for Chelsea this summer, the striker started scoring goals in his first four games for the London club, but now the Belgium star has gone goalless in six consecutive games.
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel says one reason is the hectic match schedule.
Played a lot of games during the summer. It’s hard to say if he really needs a break or if we need a break,” Tuchel says in a digital press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting at home against Malmö FF.
Not only Lukaku, who reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship this summer, has not been impressed by all the matches. Tuchel notes, for example, that Mason Mount (England) and Jorginho (Italy) also have a great deal of responsibility in their national teams.
– They like to do it and they like it, but if you play 1,000 matches a year, it can be a little difficult, says the Chelsea boss.
In addition to this summer’s European Championship, World Cup and Nations League qualifiers were played during the fall, but the players were affected not only physically, Tuchel says.
– They travel across time zones, change hotels, spend a day at home and can meet family. Then there is a new hotel and new league matches. He says he can be tired.
Tomasson: “Too many matches”
Tuchel supports Malmö coach John Dale Thomason.
We have to be honest – in Europe we have a lot of matches for players. We know it, and everyone knows it, says the Dane at a press conference at Stamford Bridge.
He highlights MFF player Anil Akhmedodzic as an example. The midfielder was suspended against Chelsea for the last red card against Zenit St Petersburg, but he was unable to play against Östersund last Saturday due to a feeling. He then just returned to the MFF after the World Cup qualifiers with the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team away from home against Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
When you play for a national team, traveling around costs you a lot of energy. Thomason says he has traveled forever across Europe.
Swedish schedulers criticize
When asked what matches will be played, the Dane chooses to send a pass to those who set the fixture schedule at home in Sweden.
First and foremost, you should always be aware that when you qualify for the Champions League in Sweden, you should always take this into account when setting the match schedule. If you want (rank) points for your country, says John D. Thomason.
In Group H of the Champions League, Chelsea started with a 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg and a 0-1 loss to Juventus. Wednesday’s opponent Malmo FF has 0-7 in goal difference after two consecutive stars against Juventus and Zenit.