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When Real Madrid sold Mateo Kovacic to Chelsea, they believed they sold an average player to the club. But two seasons after, the Croatian international has turned into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
Kovacic may not score a goal or give a direct assist, but what he does on the ball is brilliant. His confidence on the ball is excellent, as well as his first touch. His ability to beat the press, and dribble out of tight situations have been him indispensable in the middle of the park.
Chelsea may have gotten favourable results in his absence, but the Blues have missed him sorely. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is looking forward to having him back for this weekend’s tie against Fulham, and more importantly, he’s keen to have him fit and ready for the second leg against his former club Real Madrid.
“It’s a pity that we [didn’t] have Kova,” Tuchel told Chelsea TV after the first leg against Real Madrid.
“Because Kova is more or less the same type of player [as Kante]; driving with the ball and could have been very important.
“You [saw] that Jorginho was very, very tired and a bit overloaded.
“You [could] feel it in the decision-making, in some easy ball losses.
“I blame nobody, because I felt from the mental and physical point of views.”