Premier League

'You can wake him up at 3am and he'll be ready by 3:15!' - Tuchel explains affection for in-form Kovacic after midfielder's brilliance against Newcastle

03:04 SAST 2021/02/16
Mateo Kovacic Chelsea 2020-21
As Chelsea's boss sorts through his squad, he's become a quick fan of the Croatian playmaker

Thomas Tuchel has already determined that midfielder Mateo Kovacic will be one of his favourite players at Chelsea.

After Kovacic picked apart Newcastle in a 2-0 win on Monday, the manager heaped appreciation on a player who at 26 already possesses a wealth of big-game experience with stops at Inter and Real Madrid before joining the Blues.

The Croatian's work-rate has made a particularly significant impression on his new boss.

What did Tuchel say about Kovacic?

"I love him," Tuchel told the 5th Stand. "It is very easy. You can wake the guy up at 3am and he will be at Cobham at 3:15 ready to give everything, listen and play with full energy.

"You need to calm the guy down at training so he is not doing too much and he is super reliable, totally open and it is a pleasure to have him."

What did Kovacic do against Newcastle?

Kovacic completed 95.6 per cent of his team-high 91 pass attempts, including all four of his long ball attempts and his lone through ball try. He also led the Blues with eight successful dribbles and covered 10.21km of space.

His combination of vision, ability with the ball and energy are what can make him so good when in his best form.

What's next for Kovacic?

Kovacic figures to be a fixture in Chelsea's line-up for the rest of the year as the club push for a top-four finish. A starring appearance for Croatia in this summer's Euros awaits after the campaign.

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