Tuesday, 18 December 2018
Chelsea boss Sarri happy to see Morata cry

Chelsea boss Sarri happy to see Morata cry Featured

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he wants to see Alvaro Morata “cry very often” after his goal saw off Hungarian champions Vidi in the Europa League.

Instead of celebrating, Morata, who has struggled for form, appeared downbeat after scoring the decisive goal to maintain the Blues’ 100% start in Group L.

“It’s very important for him to score,” Sarri said. “He played a very good match. I think Alvaro can restart from this performance.

“If after a goal he wants to cry, I hope to see him cry very often.”

Sarri hopes Morata goal can spark return to form

Despite dominating both territory and possession, it took the second-half arrival of substitute Eden Hazard to add spark to a Chelsea team frustrated for long periods.

And Morata, who had earlier missed a glorious chance, capitalised on some extra space by sweeping in Willian’s flick from a Cesc Fabregas pass. It ended a miserable run for the 25-year-old, who had managed just one goal from nine previous outings this season.

The hosts were unable to add to their lead and had goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to thank for preserving the three points when he turned away Istvan Kovacs’ drive late on.

The result ensured the 2013 Europa League winners top the group with six points, having beaten PAOK Salonika in Greece in their opening fixture last month.

Morata’s misery subsides

If one player epitomised Chelsea’s early frustration in attack it was Morata, whose performance, particularly in the first half, continued in the same vein as against PAOK.

The Spaniard had seven shots in the Blues’ first group game without any finding the target and he managed another five against the Hungarians before finally getting on the scoresheet.

And his close-range miss early on, when he horribly miscued a chip over Vidi goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel, smacked of a player shorn of confidence.

Morata has already featured in three Champions League finals, winning two with Real Madrid and scoring in the other when he was on the losing side with Juventus, but goals have dried up for him since his impressive start at Stamford Bridge last term, when he scored seven goals in his first seven games.

And a return of five goals from 32 appearances since the start of 2018 has done little to justify the £60m spent to prise him away from Real Madrid.

Yet with Chelsea’s front-line options constrained to Olivier Giroud and Morata, an upturn in the Spain international’s form could prove crucial to Sarri this season.

“At the moment we have Alvaro and Giroud but we have to play every three days for a long time, I think, I hope,” Sarri added. “And so he’s a very important player for us, for our season.”

Loftus-Cheek’s big night

Having spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, this game represented Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s first start for Chelsea since January 2017, when the Blues defeated Brentford in the FA Cup.

Hampered by an early-season injury, the 22-year-old midfielder had been limited to just two substitute appearances, meaning that before kick-off he had managed more minutes for England (61) than the Blues (31) this term.

In that time he has also had to watch fellow Chelsea youngster Mason Mount impress on loan at Championship side Derby County, earning himself a spot in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.

While Loftus-Cheek’s lack of action precluded him from inclusion, he did enough against Vidi to suggest he will be given more opportunities by manager Maurizio Sarri.

His power in possession set Brazilian winger Willian away early on and a slaloming run between three defenders gave Chelsea a valid claim for a first-half penalty when he was brought down by Vidi defender Stopira.

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