‘The one making things happen’ – BBC pundit hails Chelsea player’s best Blues performance
Former Premier League footballer Danny Murphy says that Mateo Kovacic had his best game in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues secured their first win of the season with a 3-2 success over Norwich City.
Tammy Abraham’s double either side of Mason Mount’s strike helped record Chelsea’s first victory under Frank Lampard, but it was Kovacic – who signed permanently this summer after his year on loan last season – that caught the eye of Murphy.
Kovacic registered an assist in setting up Abraham’s winner, and his performance led Murphy to label the Croat’s showing on Saturday lunchtime as his best since joining the club.
Speaking on Match of the Day, Murphy said (via Football.london): “There were big question marks from the last season, what is he? Is he a holding midfielder or is he a number 10? But today he showed all aspects of his game. It’s probably as good a game as we’ve seen in a Chelsea shirt.
“He played in that central role but he got forward more, which we haven’t seen, he’s played a bit safe for me in the nine months of watching him.
“There was a responsibility he had to take and he did it really, really well.
“Without [N’Golo] Kante, they needed someone to put his foot in because Norwich played well. They’ve got good footballers and someone had to stop the momentum they had at times.
“He was the one making things happen.”
Murphy – or anyone else – could be forgiven for being a little underwhelmed by Kovacic’s input since arriving at Stamford Bridge, with a lack of goal threat coming from the 25-year-old who failed to find the net during his first year at Chelsea.
With only a couple of assists to otherwise show for his attacking input in 51 appearances last season, his value in the Chelsea squad had been questioned by the likes of Paul Merson after the Blues sought to make his loan deal permanent in the summer.
But following a positive start to this season with his immediate future firmly placed in West London, perhaps Kovacic is set to make more of a name for himself in the year ahead.
Indeed, even before his Norwich display the former Real Madrid man had impressed, with Lampard himself highlighting the talent he showed in pre-season including in a 2-1 victory over Barcelona.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!