Mateo Kovacic hopes the appointment of Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager can lead to him improving his scoring ability.
The 25-year-old Croatian midfielder permanently swapped Real Madrid for Stamford Bridge this summer having spent the 2018/19 campaign on loan at the west London club.
He initially joined with Maurizio Sarri at the helm, subsequently becoming a prominent squad member, but heads into next season under Lampard’s leadership after the Blues legend returned following a year in charge of Derby County.
Having hung up his boots in 2016, the Londoner remains Chelsea’s most prolific goalscoring, bagging 211 goals across 648 appearances. In five consecutive seasons — 2005/06 to 2009/10 — he would score at least 20 goals.
If there’s one area where Kovacic is lacking, it’s perhaps composure in front of goal: he didn’t manage one in 52 outings under Sarri but hopes that changes with Lampard now coaching him.
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“I’m looking forward to working with him a lot,” he told Chelsea’s official website.
“He was an amazing player and he showed last season that he is a good coach as well. I’m looking forward to learning how to score from him because he scored quite a lot and me not so much last season!
“I’m maybe not exactly the same type of midfielder as he was but he had some strong abilities, especially scoring goals. He was a hard worker so I’m looking forward to being better in this aspect, in working hard, fighting on the pitch and scoring goals.”
Could we see a more prolific Kovacic next season? Five key things to know…
- Kovacic predominantly played as a central midfielder under Maurizio Sarri.
- He’s shown in the past, notably at Inter Milan, that playing behind the centre-forward isn’t a problem.
- Across 32 league outings in 2018/19, he registered 28 shots on goal, with all but seven coming from outside the box.
- His accuracy left a lot to be desired, with just four of those strikes being on target.
- Kovacic, to date, has registered 18 senior goals at club level, with the bulk coming at Inter (8).