in

Lampard heaps praise on ‘outstanding’ Kovacic after Barca victory

Frank Lampard has praised ‘outstanding’ Mateo Kovacic following the midfielder’s performance in Chelsea’s 2-1 pre-season win over Barcelona in Japan.

Goals from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley secured victory for Lampard’s side over the Spanish champions, however, the Chelsea boss reserved special praise for Croatian international Kovacic.

The 25-year-old endured a difficult debut year at Stamford Bridge after joining on-loan from Real Madrid last season, before completing a permanent move to the club this summer.

So far, Kovacic has impressed during Chelsea’s pre-season tour, with Lampard full of praise for the midfielder’s contribution against the La Liga giants.

“I thought he was outstanding in the first half. I really liked Kovacic last year and I watched him a lot,” Lampard told the media.

“When you say he had a difficult season I kind of get that, but at the same time I saw lots of things in his game that I really like. What I found here on the tour from the first day he turned up is a hungry attitude, desire to work and incredible talent on the ball.

“I want to work with him and I want to help him to improve and improve. There’s so much talent there, I really like him. He was outstanding today and I’m really pleased. We know we’ve got numbers in midfield area and I can’t help but be excited by some of the elements today and I think there’s more to come.”