After his debut in pre-season against Inter Milan, Antonio Conte has called upon his new star striker to improve his physical condition. This is a clear indication that Morata’s technical abilities alone won’t be enough for him to have success at Chelsea. The forward needs a physical presence to accompany his technical ability.
Álvaro Morata may be quick, skilful and clinical in front of goal, but all that won’t be enough to succeed in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea team. The 24-year old must adopt a mentality he wasn’t taught in Spain, aggression.
Aggression is the fundamental component of English football today. How you channel aggression is what separates the top teams from the average ones. Every Premier League winning team of the modern era has possessed aggression alongside technical quality, and the two go hand in hand in England. The physicality that defines English football is shaped & moulded by the aggression of the players.
Antonio Conte demands every one of his players be directly on the ball and relentless off it. They must either be relentlessly pressing opposition players or guarding their positions with their life. Either way, aggression is needed in both defence and attack in Conte’s teams.
Chelsea’s current 3-4-3 system relies on the aggression of the players involved. From back to front, each player displays a degree of aggression that ensures the system has no gaping holes.
If one player lapses in concentration or intensity, weaknesses are exposed, and the system becomes flawed. Defensively, Morata’s role will be to press opposing centre-backs and cut off passing lanes to the CDM. In attack, Morata will be tasked with of course getting himself into goal scoring positions and aggressively travelling down wide channels on the counter attack. Conte demands 100% from his attacking forwards as they are the crowning jewel of his tactical approach.
Diego Costa may not have been the quickest, he certainly wasn’t the most skilful, but what made him a perfect fit at Stamford Bridge was his aggressive nature. Funnily enough, it was that same aggressive nature that forced him out of Chelsea, as his passion crossed the line in Conte’s eyes. Subsequently, the 28-year old has found himself not a part of the manager’s plans for the 2017/18 season.
Costa scored 22 goals in 38 games for the Blues last season, while Álvaro Morata scored 20 goals in 39 appearances for Los Blancos.
The ratios are similar, but Morata is younger so he has more room to grow under the Chelsea boss. The Spaniard will have to understand the importance of aggression in England before he can truly adopt it. If not, he will run the risk of just being a passion merchant that runs a lot without affecting much.
With Morata spearheading Chelsea’s attack, the Blues are set to reclaim their title. Conte will be doing his best to ensure his players don’t replicate the same form they did under José Mourinho two years ago. Such complacency will not be tolerated as the Italian only accepts 100% intensity and commitment from the team, regardless of their quality.