'Brilliant': Glenn Hoddle raves about Chelsea player's display tonight, spots tactical tweak by Graham Potter
Glenn Hoddle raved about the performance from Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League group stages.
The Blues produced an impressive display on Tuesday evening to overcome Salzburg 2-1 away from home.
Kovacic opened the scoring with a magnificent goal from outside the box, which BBC pundit Leon Osman described as “sensational”.
Despite Junior Adamu’s equaliser for Salzburg, Chelsea star Kai Havertz restored the lead with a powerful winning goal that he rifled into the top corner.
Mateo Kovacic against Red Bull Salzburg
Hoddle singled out Chelsea’s midfield maestro for his individual contribution away to Salzburg on the European stage.
Also, he thinks he’s spotted a tactical tweak by head coach Graham Potter that does allow Kovacic to get into more advanced positions.
The 28-year-old’s first goal of the season against Salzburg came from him hanging around the edge of the box.
“He (Kovacic) was brilliant tonight. They are a better team when he’s playing and playing at his best. They’ve got to look after him. I think he’s got a slight problem with his knee,” Hoddle told BT Sport 4 (7:53pm, 25 October).
“His goal there was excellent… He adjusted so quickly and stroked the ball in the top corner with his instep. It was a beautiful finish, one I think he could do more of if he gets into those advanced positions. I think Graham is allowing him to get involved a little bit more in and around the D, hence he’s had an important goal there tonight.”
The system against Salzburg definitely invited Conor Gallagher and Kovacic to join in with attacks, so you’d expect the midfielders to contribute offensively.
If fully fit, Kovacic has to be one of the nailed-on starters at Stamford Bridge because of what he gives you on the ball with his technical excellence.
He’s not far from being the complete midfielder because he can offer a lot offensively and defensively with his high football IQ, but chipping in with more goals may be the final piece of the puzzle.