Real Madrid loanee Mateo Kovačić produced another strong display in last night’s 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth in the League Cup quarterfinal, in a game that he called one of the toughest of the season.
Recency bias aside, the Cherries were indeed a good test for the Blues, especially in the second half. Fortunately, a goal just seven minutes from time from Eden Hazard was enough to make the difference.
Kovačić, speaking to Chelsea TV after the game, was obviously happy with the win and with his own performance, but he was most happy for the team, first and foremost. After all, it’s not just any team, it’s his family.
“Yes, there’s a competition [for places], but in the end we are a family, so one day one player plays another day the other. This is a good competition because there are many games and everybody can play. It is good for the club as well”
-Mateo Kovačić; source: Chelsea TV
We began the season debating on whether Chelsea have a buy-option or not on Kovačić, who joined on loan from Real Madrid, perhaps as part of the Thibaut Courtois deal. And while it appears to be the case that we do not, and the emergence of Loftus-Cheek and Barkley have made him slightly semi-redundant as well, the 24-year-old World Cup finalist sounds quite obviously very happy in London and that should bode well if we are to turn his temporary stay into a more permanent one.