Chelsea’s newest signing offers insight to Blues tactics for the new season


It appears that Chelsea’s new signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid is settling well. Chelsea broke their club record to sign the Spanish Striker and it is not the first time they did that having previously broken the record fee to sign a world class albeit declining Fernando Torres.

In a remarkable and insightful interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Morata reflected upon the pressures that come with such a big fee and his eagerness to repay Conte’s faith in him.

“Destiny has given me a chance. It is true that I had some good matches [in my previous clubs], and I scored important goals, but you cannot expect a player to score these goals or to play in big matches only every once in a while. Football is consistency.”

“And now I find myself in a team that made an enormous financial effort for a Real Madrid back-up. At the end of the day, this is the reality of the matter. They have given me everything. Conte is putting all his trust on me, and so are the supporters and the club. For that, I have to make an impact.”

Morata was signed by Conte previously at Juventus but did not get a chance to work him as the manager left the club to coach the national team. However, the Spaniard remains indebted to the Italian for placing his trust in him.

Morata believes that Conte’s tactics remain Italian to the core.

“In Juventus, we played with two forwards and here [at Chelsea] we play with three. It is complicated because I come from Madrid and the [Spain] national team where you can play with spaces or not, depending on the situation. Tactically, Chelsea are Italian. You must fit in the scheme.”

“The forward always have to be the reference point to help your teammates. You have to fight against the centre backs and on physicality, they are much stronger than in any other country. It is true that they are a bit too uncoordinated in their tactics and they offer you opportunities to score because they lose concentration, but it is another [style of] football.”

“In Spain, you have time to think with the ball. Here if you hold onto the ball [for too long] they will have already given you two stamps.”

The 24-year-old Spain international says that he needs to adapt to the English game where the physicality involved is much more than he previously encountered.

“At best the balls [when you play with your back against the goal] will not get to you like in Spain so you can play in one versus ones, but the balls that reach you will put you in a goal opportunity, or two or three. But it is all very quick. You do not have time to think. You have to play.”

“While in Spain, when you turn you have time to get your head up and look where the goalkeeper is and where you will shoot the ball. Here you just hit it. Which is why you do not see the kind of goals [I scored in Spain].”

“Your opponents catch you, in other times they go above you, and sometimes players just dribble through the entire team. This is why the Premier League is one of the most attractive leagues to watch.”

“The difference [between Spain and Chelsea] is that Chelsea’s game is based on me. When we play with three up front many times we face rivals which defend with a three-man back line, similar to what you find in Italy. The centre most centre-back follow me and the other two go one on one against the wide forward Willian [and] Pedro.”

“In Chelsea, it is striking how they value the work of the centre forward. It is systematic. Virtually without looking, the team plays for you. Much like Italy did in the [2016] Euros: the ball reaches the wing back, he looks for the #9 on his first glance, and the #9 always had to be ahead of the centre-back on the side of the ball so he can play and go, and look for the box.”

“It is hard to do that in England because in physicality it is one of the hardest competitions. They are athletes. But once I do that, if I hold the ball or win the aerial duel with the centre-back, or if Pedro or whoever else playing wide comes on a galloping run carrying the ball and I turn… From that point on it is another story.”

“Conte always told me that if I take this first ball and draw the opposition [away from play] there is an almost certain chance to score. The other day against Everton, Pedro and Willian had two opportunities each one of them in which the play came like this.”

The candid interview was conducted before Spain faced Italy in a crucial World Cup qualifier and Morata scored within five minutes of coming off the bench to seal a comfortable 3-0 win for La Roja.