We’re a full two months into the 2018-19 season and, for many, a key talking point remains the down form of some of the game’s biggest stars. For Dejan Lovren, that’s not a surprise—and it’s because of the World Cup.
For many of the players who went deep in the tournament, it was an emotionally and physically draining experience, and it also meant missing pre-season. Put it together, and some struggles are inevitable.
“A lot of Croatian players are exhausted emotionally,” Lovren noted following the Nations League match between England and Croatia. “It is the same for England, trying to get over not going to the final.”
The good news is that, two months into the season now, many of the players impacted by their involvement at the World Cup are starting to catch back up with teammates who played less and got a full pre-season.
It should hardly be a surprise, though, that players like Lovren and Luka Modric, or Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, or perhaps even Mohamed Salah—who had a draining summer in a different way—have seemed off.
“Even Luka said to me he is struggling,” Lovren added. “It takes so much out of you, emotionally and physically. Eventually they will get their best, but it will take time. They felt these emotions about how the fans would react.
“Then you have such a short period of rest. It is not so easy to adapt straight away. It just isn’t the same if you haven’t started from day one in pre-season. I haven’t even had a pre-season with my team.”