Mateo Kovacic has opened up on why he feels Chelsea boss Frank Lampard represents the perfect tutor to aid his development into a more well-rounded midfielder.
26-year-old midfielder Kovacic made the move to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018, on a season-long loan deal.
After once again struggling for game-time with Real Madrid during the 2017/18 campaign, the Croat was deemed surplus to requirements by the then-European champions, with Chelsea having reportedly beaten off competition from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus to seal his signature.
As such, Kovacic’s addition was, at the time, viewed as quite a coup for the Blues.
His debut season in London, though, proved a somewhat hit-and-miss affair.
Solid, enterprising displays on the part of the former Inter Milan man were too often followed by lifeless, ineffective performances, with Chelsea’s fans having made clear their frustrations with the lack of attacking impetus showcased by Kovacic throughout the campaign.
Nevertheless, upon the midfielder’s loan stint coming to an end, Chelsea opted to cough up the £40 million required to make Kovacic’s arrival permanent last summer.
And this, in hindsight, has since proven a superb decision.
Kovacic has looked vastly improved during his 2nd campaign at Stamford Bridge, appearing far more sure of his ability to control proceedings at the heart of the Blues’ midfield.
To this point in the season, the Croatian international has featured in 25 of Chelsea’s 29 Premier League fixtures, as well as all 7 of the club’s Champions League outings.
Alongside the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, Kovacic has helped to turn the midfield of the London giants from what was often previously viewed as an area of concern, into an undisputed strong point.
‘Can learn a lot from him’
If the latest comments on the part of the 26-year-old are anything to go by, though, then Kovacic feels that he is fully capable of taking his game to another level altogether.
While his ability in both the dribbling and tackling departments are of the highest standard, one weakness in the Chelsea star’s repertoire remains his lack of production in the final third.
After failing to register a single Premier League goal during his debut campaign in England, Kovacic has since gone on to find the back of the net just once to this point in the 2019/20 season.
This is a shortcoming which is often highlighted by detractors of the Croat’s abilities.
As outlined above, though, Kovacic feels that if there is one tactician who can aid him in adding a much-needed goalscoring touch to his game, it is current boss Frank Lampard.
Speaking in a recent Instagram Live session, the 56-time capped international explained:
‘We had a quite good year under Maurizio Sarri, winning the Europa League. In the end he left and Frank Lampard came to the team.’
‘I think from the first moment our feeling was good. I liked the way he was training us, really hard training, I liked his character, how he was speaking to the team.’
‘I think I can learn a lot from him because all the things I am missing from my game – scoring goals and being more direct, this is the thing Lampard was amazing at in his career. So he’s a great manager, a great person and I think I can learn a lot from him during my time here.’
Mateo Kovacic talking about Chelsea FC and Frank Lampard! 💙🏆 pic.twitter.com/9HNkQn1C71
— Yan @ 🏠 (@ChelseaYannick) May 22, 2020