Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said Tuesday that the recent transfer speculation linking Jadon Sancho to Manchester United is behind the England winger's dip in form.
"Every player has slow periods. There was a lot of talk about Jadon during the summer -- something like that can be a factor," Favre said ahead of Dortmund's Champions League home game against Zenit Saint Petersburg on Wednesday.
Throughout the summer, until the transfer window closed on October 5, the British media speculated that Man United were set to sign Sancho.
In late September, Dortmund reportedly rejected United's offer of up to 100 million euros ($117 million).
So far in 2020/21, the 20-year-old has struggled to recapture last season's blistering form when he scored 17 goals and created just as many in the Bundesliga.
However, Sancho struggled in Dortmund's shock 2-0 league defeat by Augsburg in late September and was then dropped by England for breaching coronavirus protocols on international duty earlier this month.
Sancho was also off form in a poor team display when Dortmund lost 3-1 at Lazio last week in the Champions League.
However, he produced a superb pass to Erling Braut Haaland, who scored in Saturday's 3-0 league drubbing of Schalke in the Ruhr derby.
Favre says Sancho just needs time.
"No player is consistently in top form for an entire year, that's impossible. You have to accept that," added the Dortmund boss.
Dortmund are looking to get back on track in Group F against Zenit after crashing in Rome.
Zenit are also hoping to bounce back from a poor opening 2-1 loss at home to Club Brugge.
"It wasn't a good enough performance against Lazio," admitted Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney.
"Fortunately, there are still more chances to pick up points. I'm not worried that we won't qualify."