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How Kovacic has transformed under Lampard

With Maurzio Sarri at the helm last season, Chelsea claimed third spot and their second Europa  League title in what proved to be a rolle...

With Maurzio Sarri at the helm last season, Chelsea claimed third spot and their second Europa League title in what proved to be a rollercoaster of a season. Despite the end of season successes, Maurizio Sarri's stubborn managerial approach was evident throughout the campaign as the media, fans and players often labelled Sarri’s style as tedious and non-

One player who suffered from the boss’ rigid methods was Mateo Kovacic. Kovacic, an evidently gifted footballer, didn't have the freedom desired to express himself in a way where people would stop and say, ‘Now this is a quality player’. In Sarri’s formation, Kovacic was deployed on the left of a midfield three. The repetitive short distance passages of play between Chelsea’s midfield was a recurring theme of Sarri’s style, but the style didn't bring the best out of Kovacic. Scoring zero goals and providing only two assists all season meant that Kovacic's loan spell may have been deemed a failure.

Although Chelsea had a transfer ban in last summer's window, they had the option to exercise a 
clause in Kovacic’s contract that would see him join permanently for £40,000,000 from Real Madrid. After producing a sublime display in the Europa League final, Kovacic had done enough to tempt Lampard into making the move permanent.

Under Lampard, Mateo Kovacic is flourishing and has been rejuvenated into the player that

many people thought he could be. Lampard’s fast free-flowing style of football has given
Kovacic the freedom to excel in his performances. His eye-catching performances have not
gone unnoticed as he begins to build a formidable reputation for being one of the standout
midfielders in the league. Lampard deserves huge credit for unlocking the potential of Kovacic, who is now a firm favourite with the Chelsea fanbase. Tenacious in the tackle and with a wonderful passing range, Kovacic is drawing similarities between him and his boss. His long-awaited first Chelsea goal came courtesy of a wonderful strike from distance in a 2-2 draw away at Valencia in the Champions League. The goal was reminiscent of previous goals scored at his old clubs, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. It epitomizes the confidence Lampard has instilled into Kovacic’s game as he looks a player reborn under his new boss.

After being outclassed by Bayern Munich in a 3-0 Champions League last 16 defeat, the Blues 
have a lot of work to do to overturn the deficit in what is set to be a fanless Allianz Arena. After defeat, Lampard was quick to heap praise on Kovacic. He commented: “He can play in pretty much any team with that level.”

Many Chelsea fans would label Kovacic as their most influential and important player this

season, which is a huge testament to how far Kovacic has come as a player. He has turned
into the all-round midfielder, with his two goals and three assists already blowing last season’s stats out of the water.

Kovacic’s standout trait is his ability to beat the press. Using his electric pace, nimble footwork 
and brute strength to glide past players with the ball is a real weapon for Chelsea, immediately setting them on the front foot. His combination play between him and his midfield partners also resembles a midfielder oozing with confidence. Kovacic isn’t afraid to put in a robust challenge either. With the form of ball-winning N'golo Kante dipping, Kovacic’s bite and tenacity in the tackle is something Chelsea very much need.

After the emergence of teenage sensation Billy Gilmour combined with the form of Mateo

Kovacic, the question is will Jorginho rediscover his place in the team? After completing his two-game suspension, Jorginho may find it a difficult task to dethrone Gilmour or Kovacic. With a rumoured reunion with Sarri on the cards for Jorginho at Juventus, Kovacic has a golden opportunity to cement his place in the heart of Chelsea’s midfield for the foreseeable future.

Written by - @haz_williams00

Edits by - @KristenPulisic

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