Spirits have been quite high so far this summer, ever since Frank Lampard’s arrival as the new Chelsea head coach. Veterans and young players alike have spoken of their happiness with the new boss, both in terms of his reputation as a club legend and in terms of his actual coaching.
Mateo Kovačić has already spoken about the hard work the players were put through last week in Dublin, and he expects that to continue this week in Japan.
“It’s amazing to have such a club legend as our coach, and we are really enjoying preseason so far. It’s nice working under the head coach and we are all looking forward to learning from him and making him and the club proud.”
“[Preseason] has been tough, training is quite intense, but the work has been good. Myself and the other players are enjoying the work though because although the sessions are intense and tough like I said, we also see a lot of the ball which is what we like.”
Just like last week, Chelsea will have two friendlies to contest, though the difficulty level should ramp up considerably. first up will be J1 League champions Kawasaki Frontale on Friday, then La Liga giants Barcelona on Tuesday.
Kovačić appreciates the challenges on tap, especially as they better approximate the challenges coming up in the Premier League.
“We are looking forward to a good game on Friday. It is a pleasure to be here, we are pleased to be here in Japan and are looking forward to a good preseason game. The manager said quite a lot and as I said before, its nice to play here in Japan in front of our fans, it’s going to be good to play against a great team who won their league last season. We are used to this type of opposition.
“We play against very good teams in the Premier League and Champions League each week, so we need a strong test. It’s normal for us to play a challenging match against a strong team and it will help us prepare well for the season ahead.”
-Mateo Kovacic; source: Chelsea FC
That’s the spirit!