Sarri: Morata is mentally fragile like Saponara

Alvaro Morata has struggled at Chelsea since the start of 2018, and Maurizio Sarri puts that down to him having a fragile mentality.

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata   -  Getty Images

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri compared under-fire forward Alvaro Morata to his former Empoli midfielder Riccardo Saponara because his mental fragility impacts his natural ability.

After a bright start to life at Chelsea, Morata has had a difficult time in 2018, scoring just six times in the Premier League since the turn of the year.

Five of those have come this term, but his performances have left a lot to be desired, often appearing uneasy in front of goal and lacking in confidence.

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Sarri believes the Spain international is comparable to Saponara, who he coached at Empoli earlier in his career.

The former Italy Under-21 international showed enough potential to secure a move to AC Milan, but the 26-year-old's career is yet to hit the heights many expected, and Sarri feels Morata has a similar type of mental fragility.

"It's difficult," Sarri told reporters. "At Empoli I had a wonderful player, Riccardo Saponara, who we sold to AC Milan.

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"Saponara was one of the best players I have ever seen, but a little bit mentally fragile.

"Alvaro has scored four or five goals in his last six matches, so I cannot see a big problem. I hope that there will be more this season.

"Every season he scores 15 or 16 goals, so he's around his average [goal return]. I speak with him every week, but on the pitch he is alone.

"I think that at the moment he's not playing to his full potential. It's difficult."

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