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Morata’s double can ‘free his mind’: Cudicini

Chelsea assistant coach Carlo Cudicini said Alvaro Morata's two goals in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday would "free his mind" after a lean spell for the Spanish striker.

Morata struck twice in the second half and also missed an open goal as the Cup holders eased into the fourth round. They were his first goals in domestic competition for two months.

The 26-year-old former Real Madrid striker's troubles in front of goal have raised speculation that Chelsea might try and sign a striker in the transfer window.

But Cudicini said Morata is still valued by the club and thinks he can start scoring on a regular basis once he regains confidence.

"I think Alvaro played an important part in today's performance, he was very good in terms of working for the team, offensively but mainly defensively," said Cudicini.

"It was very important for him to score two goals, which can only be good for his confidence.

"We are all pleased with his performance, but we were even when he didn't score in previous games, so hopefully, it will be good for his morale that he scored, and hopefully he will be more free in his mind.

"For a striker, it's difficult when you go through a spell when you don't score many goals, so his body language was a bit down, but in training he's working very hard.

"We all knew that sooner or later, he would be able to turn the corner and start scoring goals."

Cesc Fabregas, captain for the day in what is expected to be his last game for the club before a likely move to AS Monaco, left the pitch in tears at the end of the game.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona player, 31, missed a penalty that would have provided a perfect send-off.

Cudicini refused to say whether Fabregas had definitely played his last game in a Chelsea shirt, but paid a glowing tribute to the midfielder who has racked up more than 500 appearances in English football.

"What can I say about Cesc? Five hundred games, a player who is unique in his position, he has unbelievable vision and awareness of where his team mates are on the pitch," he said. - REUTERS