There are few more majestic sights in football than a centre-forward rising high to meet a cross and executing a lethal header past the keeper. That was what Alvaro Morata did to perfection against Manchester United as the Blues ran out 1-0 winners at Stamford Bridge.
Morata’s bullet header left the impressive De Gea flat-footed and the Manchester United title charge partially derailed. That was a result Stamford Bridge needed after Roma picked them apart at will during their midweek Champions League tie. Despite the Spaniard’s heroics, Conte issued a warning to the young striker after the game. Conte praised his physical and technical qualities but followed that with “if I have to find a negative, he has to score more and be more clinical”.
There’s no doubt that Conte slightly resented Morata for not putting the game to bed sooner, especially after being put through by Willian in injury time only to waste the chance due to indecision. The criticism may seem a touch harsh given that the clinical finish Morata provided led to the Blues picking up all three points but it is ultimately because Conte thinks very highly of his star striker.
That is why he brought the Spain international to Stamford Bridge and has put so much faith in him. Morata’s Chelsea goal return may suggest Conte is being overly critical. In nine league games, the 25-year-old has scored seven goals, which included a hat-trick against Stoke in a four-nil hammering away from home.
Conte’s words were a reminder to Morata not to become complacent amid the potential perils of a one-goal lead. It is wise advice and, whatever industry you are in, you never stop learning. Morata is of even temperament and will no doubt take heed of the words Conte has sent his way. After all, Conte said in September that any father would be happy for their daughter to marry Morata. There is no doubt a good relationship brewing.
Morata is only one goal behind this season’s leading Premier League scorers. Only Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero have more goals, with eight apiece. It would be a highly impressive feat for Morata to clinch the golden boot in his first season in England and he currently sits at 9/1 in the football betting to be the season’s top goalscorer. Chelsea will need every one of his goals if they are to successfully defend their title.
There have been the odd rumours doing the rounds that Morata may not be happy in London. He has moved to dismiss the misinterpreted comments made to an Italian publication and even suggested he would sign a ten-year deal at Stamford Bridge should they offer him one. Insisting he would only move back to his home country once his career has come to an end.
There wouldn’t be too many Chelsea fans upset if Morata were to stay on for another decade. Who knows what accolades he would come away with should he do so? Young, immensely talented, and willing to improve, Morata is one of the games finest prospects.