Mateo Kovacic has revealed that while the competition for places in the Chelsea midfield is fierce, it is healthy as well as he and his fellow midfielders support each other.
Apart from the Croatian international, there are six senior-team members competing for spots in a preferred three-man midfield of Maurizio Sarri. While Jorginho is virtually assured of a place at the base of the midfield three and N’Golo Kante has made the right-sided midfield berth his own, the left-sided midfield position, where Kovacic usually plays, has been hotly contested recently.
The 24-year-old has made 10 appearances this season for Maurizio Sarri but recently, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had gotten the nod ahead of the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder. Barkley has continued his return to form with a goal and a couple of assists in their 4-0 victory over Burnley at the weekend while Loftus-Cheek netted a hat-trick in the midweek Europa League defeat of BATE Borisov.
Yet despite the magnificent exploits in the last matches of Barkley and Loftus-Cheek, who are in direct competition with him for a place in the Blues’ starting XI, Kovacic has said it is normal to sit out on some games due to the embarrassment of riches available for Sarri at the midfield department, before saying the competition for places is a healthy one as they support each other.
“One day I play then the next day Ross, then Ruben, we have a lot of players. N’Golo [Kante], [Cesc] Fabregas, Jorginho, so a lot of quality in the midfield,” reckoned the Croatian international midfielder. “It’s normal you can’t play every game so we are supporting each other. The season is long and we need every player.
“We have a good team, we have 22 or 23 players who can always play. That’s really important for the full season. In the end, the coach chooses who will play but we are all prepared.
“We are footballers but we are 25 players so we need to support each other.”
Kovacic continued by asserting the need for the Chelsea midfield to contribute more in the goalscoring department especially as only Eden Hazard has been the consistent goalscoring threat this season for the Blues.
“We are playing very nice football, people like it, but we can do much better,” added the ex-Inter Milan lynchpin.
“The midfielders need to score more goals, me obviously, and Ruben scored three against BATE so he did well.
“We need to play much better because we have a lot of quality in our team. I hope to score soon too, but in the end it’s important we play good football and push forward.”