Former Chelsea and France defender Marcel Desailly believes that Alvaro Morata is one of the main reasons the Blues have struggled this season, with the Spaniard failing to fill the void left by Diego Costa’s sale to Atletico Madrid.
Desailly was widely regarded as one of World football’s best centre-backs during his illustrious career and represented the Stamford Bridge club between 1998-2004.
The former World Cup winner reckons Morata has struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premier League and the demands of being a regular starter – something that was not the case at his previous club’s Real Madrid and Juventus.
Chelsea decided to offload Costa last summer after he fell out with Blues coach Antonio Conte. The Stamford Bridge club then forked out a club record £58 million to sign Morata from Real Madrid as his replacement.
Despite the Spain international striker getting off to an impressive start to life in English football, netting eight goals in his first 11 games, he has struggled for form and fitness as the season has progressed.
“The team cannot say their problems are all down to Costa leaving,” Desailly told Planet Football.
“But they expected Morata to deliver and replace Costa, and he has not done that so far.
“He is a striker who had to adapt to the Premier League. He had some success in Italian football with Juventus, but there you play the game only on the floor and the speed is less.
“He was not a regular starter when he was at Real Madrid, but he came off the bench and scored some important goals. That is why the expectation around him stayed quite high, but he was still in need of a year to develop and understand how the English game works.
“We have seen moments from him that show he is good enough to play for Chelsea, but he needs time and Conte has not had other strikers this season for him to give Morata that time to sit out some games and understand his role in the team.
“He needs to digest what he is experiencing, but in England there is no time. Games comes so quickly and you just play and play.”
Despite winning the Premier League title comfortably last season Chelsea have failed to replicate that impressive form during this campaign and currently sit in fifth position in the table with just three games remaining.
Conte’s side face third placed Liverpool at Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a game that they quite simply must win if they are to keep their faint hopes of finishing in the top four this season alive.