Kovacic explains the importance of playing the Japanese champions in pre-season

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Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic is part of the Chelsea squad to have touched down in Japan on Tuesday morning, with pre-season games against Kawasaki Frontale and Barcelona to come during our time in the Far East.

Kovacic talked to press about Friday’s game against Japan champions Kawasaki Frontale.

According to Kovacic, the clash with Frontale will be exactly the sort of challenge we need as the preparations step up ahead of the new Premier League season.

“My manager said similar before me, we are looking forward to a good game on Friday,” said Kovacic.

“It is a pleasure to be here, we are pleased to be here in Japan and are looking forward to a good pre-season 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.”

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