Massimiliano Allegri pinpointed fitness as the reason behind Paulo Dybala's waning form following a largely anonymous display against Frosinone.
Dybala, 24, is yet to find his feet in a forward line rejigged to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved on from his Champions League red card by scoring a late opener in Sunday's 2-0 victory.
Federico Bernardeschi came off the bench to add a second in stoppage time and issue Allegri a reminder of the attacking options at his disposal.
But Dybala simply needs more opportunities, according to Allegri, the Argentina attacker having been restricted to three starts out of six Serie A games this season.
"He needs to play. I've always said Paulo's best physical attribute is his running," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
"He did some good things today. But he has to play. His technique and dribbling is useful and it will get better with fitness.
"Dybala has no need to feel this performance anxiety. You can be the best player in the world, but if you're not at 100 per cent mentally, the others will get to the ball faster.
"Mario Mandzukic is always first to the ball, but today he was a little less sharp because of fatigue, it's natural.
"We were expecting a difficult game and that's what we got. As the time advanced it got harder and harder to score a goal but we finally did thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo."
Frosinone managed to frustrate the champions until Ronaldo finally made the breakthrough in the 81st minute.
Defeat leaves Moreno Longo's men above only Chievo - who have had a points deduction - and without a goal to their credit this term.
"It's a shame. We did well for almost the entire match and a few minutes from the end I thought we could get a draw," Longo said.
"On paper this could have been lost from the beginning, but that was not the case."
20. Oktober 2018
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19. Oktober 2018
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|Man City pay training-pitch tribute to Joe Hart|
|Neymar to be rested as Tuchel rubbishes Ballon d´Or concerns|
|Sarri ´not interested´ in Christensen father´s quit threat|
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|Neymar return unlikely, but anything can happen – Valverde|
|Bairstow a doubt for fourth ODI|
|Manchester United fined for late arrival and delayed kick-off against Valencia|
|Australia-Pakistan chat not ´especially polite´ - Sarfraz|
|Pogba relishing ´pressure game´ against in-form Hazard|
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|Buffon enjoying Tuchel´s methods at PSG|
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|Keita set to miss out as Liverpool monitor injured stars|
|He didn´t want to be here – Guardiola doubts Sancho will return to Manchester City|
|Sarri: Manchester United are the best in the Premier League|
|Mourinho salutes ´brave´ Shaw for ´best possible´ response to criticism|
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|Wigan stand by Hardaker as full-back prepares to undergo rehabilitation|
|Barcelona deny Neymar talk|
|Hazard can win the Ballon d´Or as a Chelsea player, insists Sarri|
|De Bruyne in contention to start in Manchester City´s clash with Burnley|
|Neymar needs to mature to reach Messi levels - Xavi|
|We have a hell of a lot to do - Paine slams Australia batting|
|Kerber and Osaka to meet at WTA Finals|
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|Real Madrid handed Africa trip in Copa del Rey|
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|Rooney: Five of us controlled Man United dressing room|
|Bayern bosses launch scathing attack on ´disrespectful´ media|
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|Adelaide United 1 Sydney 1: Debutant Le Fondre rescues a point|
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|Wimbledon to introduce final-set tie-breaks|
|Abbas inspires Pakistan to series victory|
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|Mood is positive at Bayern, insists under-pressure Kovac|
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|Chelsea v Manchester United: Hazard better under Sarri than he ever was with Mourinho|