Thomas Tuchel has warned against Chelsea demanding too much from Mason Mount, but insists the midfielder will be "absolutely key" during a crucial three-match stretch for the club.
A favourite of former boss Frank Lampard, Mount has gone from strength to strength under Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, cementing his status as a pivotal performer for the Blues and becoming an increasingly influential figure at international level with England.
However, after being rested for the impressive win at Manchester City last weekend, the academy graduate struggled in the subsequent costly defeat by Arsenal and was unable to prevent Chelsea from losing in the FA Cup Final for the second successive season on Saturday.
Mount - like most of his team-mates - was not firing on all cylinders at Wembley in front of 21,000 returning fans, though would still have notched the equaliser were it not for a stunning late Kasper Schmeichel save that saw his arrowed strike somehow tipped wide.
And while Tuchel acknowledges that Mount has not been at his best of late, he insists he has not been playing in his best position and still has a vital role as Chelsea look to keep hold of fourth place in the Premier League with two final matches against Leicester on Tuesday and Aston Villa on Sunday.
There is then the small matter of the Champions League Final against Manchester City to come in Porto on May 29.
"We tried to give Mason a little break recently because he gave a lot in the Real Madrid games and he has been so decisive for us," Tuchel explained to Chelsea's official website.
"We didn't have much time between those games and the [Manchester] City match, particularly when you factor in the travel, but we wanted him to rest to conserve his energy and his form.
"I think he struggled a little bit in the game against Arsenal in terms of having his usual high standards and impact on the match. He has played the last few games in a double six role, which I don't think is the best position for him, but I'm still so happy with Mason.
"In the cup final, perhaps he could have played with a little more composure but don't forget, if it wasn't for an incredible save from Schmeichel, then he would have scored an equaliser. It wasn't to be but Mason is always a dangerous player for us and we should be careful that we don't over-expect from Mason.
"He is a key player for us in every match, he's always so decisive and that will not change for the next three matches. He is absolutely key for us."