For the last 25 minutes of Sunday’s contest against Crystal Palace, Álvaro Morata was flirting with a hat trick. The newly-energised Chelsea striker now has five goals in the Premier League and three in his last three matches.
It’s been quite a comeback for player who struggled for most of last season with both form and injuries. And who, as recently as a month ago, seemed in danger of losing his place to a still goalless Olivier Giroud.
“When you have a bad period, it takes long to recover. Last year was difficult for me for many things. You don’t expect an injury but now I am good, it is nice to be scoring.”
Obviously, the two goals and the extended audition for his hat trick is what reporters wanted to know about after the game. But Morata is learning the ropes as a pro, and media lesson no.1 is to make it about the team.
And so he did.
“I can score a hat-trick so it was not the perfect day but we will take the three points. That is the most important thing for us. We want to fight until the end for the Premier League.”
“We played good today. I think a lot about the hat-trick but I am improving and I want to keep helping my team to win. Palace score to make it 1-1 so we knew we needed to go and win it and stay at the top with the other teams. We needed the three points.”
-Álvaro Morata; source: Sky Sports via Goal.com
Maurizio Sarri, as is his way, was both blunt and supportive when speaking about his striker. Supportive, because he hopes goals lead to more goals. Blunt, because he didn’t pretend that Morata sometimes doesn’t appear to have the mindset of the best goalscorers in the rough-and-tumble Premier League.
“I don’t know. For Alvaro the goal has to be a consequence, to play with his team mates and the goal is a consequence of the work.”
“He is a little bit fragile from the mental point of view. But he is very young. He can improve very fast I think.”
Asked to compare Morata to Drogba, Sarri put the comparison where it belongs.
“Physically not, perhaps, Drogba was one of the best for 15 years. Morata is very fast, not in the first few steps, for 40 metres he is very fast. Not like Drogba, but Morata has a great potential.”
Man of the Match @ChelseaFC’s Alvaro Morata.— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 4, 2018
Attempts: 5 (most in match)
On target: 3 (most in match)
Touches in opp. box: 6 (2nd most in match)
Last 4 PL apps:
What the Chelsea manager does admire is how his expensive striker is improving. It’s not just that he’s scoring goals — it’s everything about his game.
“I think so. He has improved in the last month, the confidence and personality and technical point of view.”
“He can play more with the team. He has great physical and technical potential.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: football.london
It doesn’t hurt that Giroud has been carrying a leg injury the last two matches, ensuring that Morata gets plenty of playing time. He’s been feeding on that, bursting with life in the Burnley match and bringing the same energy to Sunday’s contest.
His resurgence comes at a welcome time for Chelsea, who sometimes struggle to keep a clean sheet in league play, as they did again against Palace.
Everyone concerned — Morata, Sarri, Chelsea and all of us — hopes it continues.