Belfast Telegraph

I'll help Kovacic find a cutting edge: Lampard

 

Off the mark: Mateo Kovacic scored for Chelsea in Spain
Off the mark: Mateo Kovacic scored for Chelsea in Spain

By Nick Purewal

Frank Lampard admits one of his "projects" at Chelsea is to get Mateo Kovacic among the goals.

Croatia midfielder Kovacic broke his Chelsea duck on his 71st club appearance in Wednesday's 2-2 Champions League draw in Valencia.

The 25-year-old drilled home as the Blues left the Mestalla Stadium with a point despite the hosts squandering plenty of chances, including a missed penalty.

Kovacic could even have had a brace in Spain, only for Jasper Cillessen to deny the in-form Blues creator another goal, as Lampard revealed his plans for the former Real Madrid man.

"We've had a lot of jokes between me and him because he's a player of such quality that should score more goals," said Lampard.

"It's a project for me, for him and for the whole staff to get him more goals. I'm delighted for him and I hope that's the start of something new."

Tammy Abraham picked up a hip complaint after a heavy fall, but Chelsea hope the England striker has avoided serious injury and only suffered bruising.

Christian Pulisic thought he had swiped a win that would have guaranteed Chelsea safe passage into the last 16 with a match to spare in Group H.

The USA forward tapped home, with the goal standing after a lengthy VAR review and cancelling out Carlos Soler's opener.

Daniel Wass fluked a leveller for the hosts when his cross drifted over Kepa Arrizabalaga's head, but that was after Chelsea's stopper had pulled off a fine penalty save to deny Dani Parejo from the spot.

The lengthy delay before VAR confirmed Pulisic's goal left home players and fans incensed, but Lampard insisted enduring a wait is no problem - provided the officials come to the right conclusion.

"I don't think the delay is the problem," said Lampard.

"The problem in the Premier League has been whether the decision was right or wrong even after the delay, and that's where I think we're not getting it right.

"We want to keep that time down, but if you get the right decision I don't think there are too many complaints."

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