English Premiership

Kovacic enjoying new-found freedom under Lampard

2019-08-28 11:12
Mateo Kovacic
Mateo Kovacic (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic says he is enjoying playing under Frank Lampard, as the Blues boss gives him "more freedom" to play.

The 25-year-old initially joined the Blues on a season-long loan last summer, and he made 32 appearances under Maurizio Sarri.

The Croatia international failed to score under Sarri, and his future was up in the air at one point.

In the end, Chelsea splashed the cash to sign him from Real Madrid, and he has cushioned the blow of their transfer ban.

Kovacic's permanent transfer followed Christian Pulisic's deal in January, and the duo have made a positive start to the season under Lampard.

The former Chelsea midfielder has given several players a chance since he took charge in the summer, with both playmakers Kovacic and Pulisic given attacking roles in his midfield.

Kovacic was one of Chelsea's leading players during the 3-2 win over Norwich City, and he admits he is loving life under Lampard's management.

He told reporters: "Yeah, he (Lampard) gives me more freedom, and I can come and take the ball and go forward.

"So, I feel good, I have a good connection with the coach and the team, but I am now a Chelsea player, so I feel better - last year I was only on loan - this year I feel better and more confidence.

"We needed the three points more than the beautiful game, and we did a good game, won and so everything was perfect."

Lampard has used a five-man midfield so far this season, with Jorginho and N'Golo Kante covering the defence.

Mason Mount has also flourished in the Chelsea starting XI, meaning Ross Barkley has dropped to the bench.

Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kenedy and William have had to bide their time, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are both on the sidelines at present.

Lampard has certainly learned plenty about his team since the start of the season, with defeats to Manchester United and Liverpool adding to the pressure at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's season could now start to lift off after the win at Carrow Road, and they will fancy their chances of earning all three points against Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.

Wolves are then next up after the international break, with Liverpool, Brighton and Southampton to follow.

 

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Fixtures
Saturday, 23 November 2019
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, London Stadium 14:30
Arsenal v Southampton, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v Norwich City, Goodison Park 17:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Burnley, Vicarage Road 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Chelsea, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 24 November 2019
Sheffield United v Manchester United, Bramall Lane 18:30
Monday, 25 November 2019
Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Villa Park 22:00
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