Spain manager Luis Enrique believes Alvaro Morata has been far ‘more decisive and confident’ since leaving Chelsea for Atletico Madrid.
Morata, 26, returned to his homeland in January after struggling in west London, joining Diego Simeone’s side on loan until the end of next season.
How has Morata fared with Atleti? Five key things to know…
- Morata scored just five Premier League goals under Maurizio Sarri in the first half of this season.
- As such, he joined Atletico Madrid on an 18-month loan with an option to buy.
- Since returning to the Spanish capital Morata has scored three goals in eight matches.
- His performances have impressed Enrique who started him in Spain’s 2-1 win over Norway on Saturday, though he fired a blank.
- Despite this, Enrique believes the Madrid marksman has improved significantly since leaving Chelsea.
The Spaniard has scored in just two matches since joining Atleti, failing to find the back of the net in six out of eight matches, including both Champions League round-of-16 legs against Juventus.
It would therefore be reasonable to assume Morata has taken his Chelsea form to the Wanda Metropolitano, but Enrique has been encouraged by the striker’s recent performances.
Morata started in the 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Norway at the Mestalla on Saturday, and while he failed to score – despite taking on the most shots – Enrique believes he has shown vast signs of improvement since parting from Stamford Bridge.
“I see him much better than when he was at Chelsea,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“He has been always great with us but now he is more decisive, keeping the ball at the end of this match for example.
“He did that with confidence. He had many chances and he was where he had to be. He wasn’t lucky enough but he had a great match, his best match with us so far.
“It was a complete match where we created many clear chances. We dominated Norway, who tried to attack us from set-pieces.
“We knew the match was going to be like this but I am really happy for team’s performance in every way.
“I would like to have scored 50 per cent of our chances and we would have talked about a great result but this is football. We can improve that giving confidence to the players.”
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Morata aiming to rediscover international form
Morata is currently enduring a barren goalscoring run of a year-and-a-half without finding the net for Spain, with his last international goal coming against Costa Rica in 2017.
Morata’s poor form for both club and country saw him left out of Spain’s World Cup squad but he has since managed to fight his way back into national selection, and he is hoping to rediscover his old La Roja shooting boots.
“It is clear that I needed confidence. I was coming from bad times, but we don’t have to think of the past anymore,” he explained.
“I’m now where I wanted to be for a long time and I thank Diego Simeone and the coaches for trusting me because, thanks to them, I’m finding my best form.
“I would be happier if the last week had gone better, of course, as we are out of the Champions League, but life moves on and now I’m with Spain.
“This is a motivation and not an excuse to get away from the bad things because here we can focus on doing well for our country and not what happens with our clubs.”