Alvaro Morata considers Maurizio Sarri to be the “perfect” Chelsea boss for him, after suggestions that Antonio Conte’s tactics were responsible for his testing debut season in England.
The Spanish striker arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2017 and was charged with the task of filling Diego Costa’s boots and leading the line for the Blues.
He did find the target 15 times in all competitions, but endured struggles for form and has admitted to suffering from a lack of confidence.
That is now being rebuilt under Sarri, with six goals recorded this term, and the 26-year-old is enjoying life under a popular coach whose approach is better suited to his game.
Morata told Gazzetta Dello Sport about his experience with the new Italian boss in west London and the benefits of ‘Sarriball’: “I was told that he’s a coach who plays very well with the ball and loves tactical work, but he also has a good personal relationship with the players.
“Sarri knows perfectly the difference between the various moments in the life of a squad: when you need to work he’s like a general and is the first to set the example when it’s time to joke he can have you dying of laughter.
“That’s all reflected in the group, we’re getting on well together and we’re playing good football. The only reason we’re a little behind in the table is that we’ve had some draws.
“We haven’t been with Sarri for a long time though, we haven’t lost yet and that’s good because the competition is very tough in the Premier League. And we’ll improve.
“I was surprised that to talk to him you don’t need something to have happened, you’re injured or playing badly, or well.
“He’s always available and interested, he wants to know how you are, how your life is. Football issues, sure but also, I don’t know… the political situation in your country.
“One of the first times I met him, he asked me what I thought of Basque independence. I gasped, I didn’t expect that! We then talked about it passionately, and that’s something about him that’s not so obvious.
“His system is perfect for me, almost all the balls come to me when I’m in front of goal, and it’s much better than when I was playing with my back to goal and had to turn around - that’s not my game.
“One of the places I played best was Juventus, and there too I didn’t have to turn around, I just had to attack the space and run forward with the ball.
“That’s the same as now, and I’d have been able to score a few more goals if I’d been more precise.”
Morata opened the 2018-19 campaign with just one goal in nine appearances but has now netted five times in his last seven outings.
He has also returned to the Spain squad after seeing his struggles last season cost him a place in La Roja’s World Cup plans.