Chelsea manager Frank Lampard praised Mateo Kovacic’s “outstanding performance” in their Tottenham Hotspur stalemate on Sunday.
With so many midfield options, Lampard would often have to make a big decision when picking his three starting midfielders.
Many expected Kai Havertz to start ahead of Kovacic considering the former’s attacking threats.
But Kovacic showed why Lampard opted to start him instead.
He made four tackles, four interceptions and one block, as well as winning seven of his nine ground duels.
He made just one dribble, which is quite a surprise given his characteristics, but defensively he made it really comfortable for the players behind him.
Lampard praised the Croatia international’s industrious performance in midfield.
“He [Kovacic] was brilliant today and disciplined as well,” the manager told Chelsea TV after the game.
“Playing on and off the ball brilliantly, speed, driving through midfield, disciplined when we turned the ball over, tracking people back, his performance was huge.
“I thought our midfield was huge today and [Kovacic] himself personally was outstanding.”