‘I made some unforced errors’: 27-year-old Chelsea player said he made too many mistakes yesterday

Mateo Kovacic admitted that he miscalculated more times than he would’ve liked during the Club World Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Al Hilal.

Speaking after the Blues beat their Saudi Arabian opponent’s 1-0 on Wednesday, Kovacic confessed to slipping up on a few occasions.

If the midfielder did make a handful of mistakes, he covered them up pretty well.

Classy Kova

The 27-year-old was named FIFA’s man-of-the-match following another calm display in the middle of the park.

Photo by Angel Martinez – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He provided the initial pass to set up Kai Havertz’s cross that Romelu Lukaku eventually blasted over the line.

A few times during the tie the Croatian international moved the European champions up the field with a strong surge or incisive pass.

But clearly, Kovacic felt there were aspects of his own performance that needed improving.

“I made some unforced errors in areas which I shouldn’t,” he openly declared.

“But, in the end, it was a good game from the whole team. Not our best performance obviously, but I think we will show that on Saturday.”

Decent Club World Cup contest

Al Hilal certainly gave Chelsea a run for their money.

After going behind in the first half, Leonardo Jardim’s men ramped up the pressure in the warm Abu Dhabi heat.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into two smart saves to keep the Premier League outfit marginally ahead.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

The Blues did have a few decent opportunities to finish off the fixture themselves.

Havertz could only find the post rather than the net following a strong solo run.

Kovacic then slipped Lukaku through in on goal, but the Belgian decided to turn back and lay off Mason Mount instead, whose shot was blocked.

Despite scoring his ninth of the season, the club-record signing still seemed to lack confidence in the final third.

He needs to put this right if Chelsea are to win silverware in the next few months, beginning with Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Palmeiras.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.