What is the story?
Frank Lampard's Chelsea grabbed their first victory of the Premier League 2019-20, beating Norwich City last Saturday at Carrow Road.
Following their dominating 3-2 triumph over one of the newly-promoted sides, The Blues' star midfielder Mateo Kovacic drew an oblique comparison between his current and former manager.
In case you didn't know...
Kovacic joined the Stamford Bridge outfit from Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal in the summer 2018 and made a permanent switch to the club last month.
Despite doing well in phases in the heart of Chelsea's midfield, Kovacic's inconsistent displays made him an innocuous scapegoat and saw him receive a huge amount of criticism from the club supporters and a few football pundits.
This season, the 25-year-old has already started three Premier League matches and has named an assist so far. Maurizio Sarri, who won the UEFA Europa League with Chelsea FC last season, joined Juventus as their new manager at the end of the 2018-19 season.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to the media, the Croatian midfield maestro confessed that he can play more freely now under the new manager.
Kovacic, who has garnered only three assists from his 53 appearances for the Blues, believes that Frank Lampard's appointment as Chelsea's new manager will be a certain step towards his development as a midfielder. He said:
"He gives me more freedom and I can take the ball and go forward. I feel good. A good connection with the coach and all the team. I am a Chelsea player now so I feel better about that. Last year was only a loan. I feel better and more confident than last year."
"I am missing some part of my game and I can improve and get better, but I think it will come for sure."
"He gives us more freedom to play, more creativity. We can change positions. We are aggressive. We are doing well but it is only one month with the coach so we can improve."
He concluded by adding,
"Last season was also a good connection with the coach. It was also a good year last year. The connection is good. The fans love him and so do the players. He is young and he understands us."
What is next?
Frank Lampard's men will be looking to maintain their momentum as they host Sheffield United next Saturday.Published 26 Aug 2019, 14:03 IST