Mateo Kovacic says he is trying to adjust his mentality to score more goals after being challenged by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard to finally open his account for the side.
Despite making 69 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions – first on loan from Real Madrid last season, and now as a permanent fixture in the side – the Croatian is still waiting to score his first goal for the west London club.
Mateo Kovacic had a decent record in Italy, scoring eight times in his final season at Inter – including a European hat-trick – before moving to Real, but he has not scored for club or country since January 2017.
Mateo Kovacic has been roundly praised for his performances this season but Lampard feels the one thing he is lacking is goals , and the 25-year-old is eager to try and rectify the issue.
‘The most important is the first one. One year at Inter I scored a lot of goals because I started the season scoring a lot of goals. Then you continue and it goes along,’ Kovacic told Chelsea’s website.
‘I never had the pressure to score goals, I was never obsessed because my game is not about goals, but obviously if I want to go to the next step I need to improve it.
‘The coach was the greatest goalscoring midfielder that ever played. There were many, but he really scored a lot of goals. He tells me always that I need to shoot. Now I am trying more!
‘It’s just a thing of mentality, to try to score, to be aggressive and to have the hunger to score goals. I want to improve that, I’m trying to improve that and I am sure I will get there.’
Asked if he wants Kovacic to score more, Lampard said earlier this month: ‘Yes. I do and he does. The quality he has shown in big parts this season, and I think the natural progression is goals and we are working on that one.
‘You might see a big smile if he scores, not just from me but from the group because we know he has the quality to score and that will be the next step.’