Belfast Telegraph

Frank Lampard keen to get Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic among the goals

The 25-year-old scored his first for the Blues in the 2-2 draw with Valencia on Wednesday.

Mateo Kovacic celebrates his goal against Valencia (Alberto Saiz/AP)
Mateo Kovacic celebrates his goal against Valencia (Alberto Saiz/AP)

By Nick Purewal, PA, Valencia

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 from 20 yards as the Blues tiptoed out of 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, and the whole squad 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, and he could have scored two.

“I’m delighted for him and I hope that’s the start of something new.”

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

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard wants to help Mateo Kovacic get more goals (Martin Rickett/PA)

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 nudged home from Kurt Zouma’s knock down, 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’ve had a few this season in our games and that’s where VAR needs to improve.

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

PA

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