Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been praised as a ‘revelation’ this season since Frank Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri as manager.
That’s the opinion of pundit Garth Crooks, who named the Croatia international in his Premier League team of the week after another fine display for Chelsea as they beat Burnley over the weekend.
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Kovacic initially struggled on loan at the Blues from Real Madrid last season, and some fans will no doubt have questioned the decision to sign him permanently this summer.
Still, Lampard has clearly worked his magic on the 25-year-old, who has stepped up in a big way to become one of Chelsea’s most important players in keeping things ticking along in midfield.
“I normally don’t care for statistics – they are for statisticians – but when I saw the pass rate for Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho against Burnley I suddenly paid attention,” Crooks said on BBC Sport.
“The performance of Kovacic in particular has been a revelation since the departure of Maurizio Sarri and the arrival of Lampard. The way he used the ball to cut Burnley to shreds was cruel at times.
“It’s hardly surprising Chelsea fans are enjoying their football so much these days. They have developed a generation of players desperate to play for a manager who, along with his players, are going places.”
CFC fans will be delighted with Kovacic’s progress, with the club slapped with a transfer ban this summer, meaning they had little option other than to trigger the option to make his loan deal a permanent one.
Had they let him go back to Madrid, Chelsea would have been desperately short of options in the middle of the park, but in keeping faith in Kovacic they now have a much-improved player making an important contribution.