Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said Kai Havertz and Mason Mount gave what he wanted from his centre-midfielders in Burnley win – but it could be bad news for Mateo Kovacic.
The Blues’ 3-0 victory at Turf Moor is arguably one of their best performance this season so far — a thoroughly solid display from the goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and the three forwards up front.
Lampard’s decision to switch back to a 4-3-3 with N’Golo Kante playing the holding midfield role behind Mount and Havertz certainly played a big part.
Chelsea looked so much quicker in transitions with the two attacking No.8s in midfield and it also allowed Kante to focus on what he does best, stopping opponents from playing their football.
“I liked the balance of the midfield,” Lampard who was clearly happy with his new midfield three told Chelsea’s official website after the game.
“N’Golo Kante was fantastic behind Mason and Kai, and there was a fluidity about it where they could drop out and get on the ball in deeper areas. There was a lot of energy in that midfield as well as quality.
“It’s great to see what it [the system] did for Kai and for Mason. It brought the best attributes out of what people would regard as really offensive players.
“I was really impressed with their humility and work ethic of those two.
“They were prepared to do both sides of the no.8. That’s what I want from the players who play as the two number eights. I want them to join, help build, get assists and goals, and they did it.”
The last two sentences might not sound good for another Chelsea midfielder Kovacic, however.
The 26-year-old was recently voted Chelsea’s player of the season for 2019/20 by the fans but he may have fallen behind in the pecking order for the new season.
He made just two Premier League starts so far and didn’t even make the bench against Burnley.
Nobody can question Kovacic’s quality on the ball given how easy he makes gliding past players look but his final output is quite disappointing for such a talented player.
Since joining Chelsea back in 2018, Kovacic has featured in 63 Premier League games in just over two seasons.
And his goal and assist numbers in the league? One goal and five assists.
His dribbling skill could be useful in certain games but unless he improves his final ball, it would difficult to justify starting him over Mount and Havertsz who can win you games.