CHELSEA boss Graham Potter has revealed Marc Cucurella has been going through a "difficult" time since his move to the Blues.
Cucurella arrived from Brighton in the summer for £62million.
However, he has found good form difficult to come by amid Chelsea's struggles.
This has seen the Spaniard dropped from the starting XI in recent games in favour of Cobham graduate Lewis Hall.
Potter, who worked with Cucurella at Brighton, was asked about his position in the squad and whether he was slipping down the pecking order.
He said: "No, not necessarily.
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"With some players there's some dips in form, and there are different solutions, different options in the game.
"Lewis Hall has done well. We have to manage his games and his role because he's a young player just starting out.
"Marc had a lot to deal with in terms of how you settle into a team, how you settle into a club, into a new group. I think it's been challenging for him."
But in addition to his on-pitch struggles, Potter revealed that the defender was also struggling with family issues.
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He added: "Family-wise that has been difficult for him as well. So there's many factors.
"Sometimes it's simplistic. You just see the guy on the pitch and you have a verdict on him, but there's all sorts of things going on in his life.
"Obviously I know Marc well. I know Marc at his best and he is a top player."
Cucurella's quality is already proven in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old won Brighton's Player of the Year award after a stellar campaign last season.
And prior to his departure, Brighton were said to rate him as a better talent than Ben White, who was sold to Arsenal the season before.
But this revelation highlights a pressing issue for many footballers whereby mental wellness is important to performing well on the pitch.
Similarly, at Manchester United Erik ten Hag has kept Jadon Sancho out of the spotlight following a "drop" in his physical and mental levels.
Ex-United star Jesse Lingard also revealed that he turned to drink to help "take the pain away" during his darkest days at Old Trafford.
Cucurella's struggles are likely to mean he stays on the bench when Chelsea face Liverpool in Saturday's early kick-off.
The sides are level on points and will be desperate to not lose more ground in the race for the top four.
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They are both ten points off of fourth-placed Newcastle.
Chelsea have just ended a run of one league win from ten with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, while Liverpool are looking to avoid a third straight league defeat on the bounce.
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