Frank Lampard pleased as Mateo Kovacic and Chelsea's youngsters shine
Frank Lampard singled out Mateo Kovacic, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount for praise, following Chelsea's 2-1 friendly win over a depleted Barcelona team in Saitama, Japan, last night.
Abraham opened accounts in the 34th minute after capitalising on a wayward pass from Sergio Busquets.
Ross Barkley made it 2-0 with a strike from outside the box in the 81st minute, before Ivan Rakitic reduced the deficit for Barcelona, also with a long-range effort, in injury time.
Kovacic struggled to make an impact under Maurizio Sarri last season, but the Blues still converted the midfielder's loan from Real Madrid into a permanent move earlier this month.
Yesterday, the 25-year-old Croat impressed alongside Jorginho and Mount in midfield, as they ably supported the front trio of Christian Pulisic, Pedro Rodriguez and Abraham.
Lampard told the club website: "I thought (Kovacic) was outstanding in the first half. I really liked him last season.
"I saw lots in his game I really liked and what I've found here on this tour... is a hungry attitude, desire to work and an incredible talent on the ball and I want to work with him and help him improve."
Lampard was also pleased with the performances of Abraham and Mount, both of whom were on loan to English Championship teams last season.
Mount, 20, was with Lampard at Derby County, while Abraham, 21, was with Aston Villa.
Said Lampard: "Tammy is a goalscorer, hungry for goals, constantly wanting to score.
"I saw that in the Championship last season, he's proven that and now it's his time to prove it at Chelsea.
"Confidence is big for goalscorers, so to get his goal will put him in good stead.
"Mason has had a great trip and he's announced himself into the first-team squad."
Barcelona were missing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who are on extended breaks following their Copa America exertions.
But two new signings, forward Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Frenkie de Jong, made their debuts.
Chelsea start their English Premier League campaign against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Aug 11.