Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants Alvaro Morata to learn from Diego Costa when it comes to channeling aggression into his play.
Morata was signed for a reported club-record fee of £58million and has settled into life at Stamford Bridge swiftly, scoring three goals in five Premier League appearances.
The Spain international was brought in as a replacement for Costa, who was informed by Conte in June that he was free to leave the club and has this this week travelled to Madrid to finalise a return to Atletico Madrid.
Costa became renowned for an antagonistic approach on the pitch during his three years in England and is even said to have fallen out with Conte during a training-ground bust-up with a Chelsea fitness coach in January.
Conte is delighted with Morata’s “polite” behaviour – describing the 24-year-old as the type of man you would allow “to marry your daughter” – but admits he would like to see the former Real Madrid and Juventus man embrace something of a nastier edge.
Atléticos, a friend says hi! pic.twitter.com/l9AzyL9ou8
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 22, 2017
Asked if Morata needed to show more anger, Conte replied: “This is a process for him. When I speak about a lot of room for improvement, it also means this aspect.
“I think, for Alvaro, it’s the right moment to have this situation, to be the striker in a great team. Don’t forget in his previous experiences with Juventus and Real Madrid: he played but not in every game, not regularly. For this reason he is at the right age to have this type of responsibility.
“I am really happy because he is a good player, he is a complete player, technically strong, a good leader, he has a lot of room for improvement.
“His behaviour is always fantastic. He is a very polite player. He is a really good guy.
“It means you’d be open to have this type of person with your daughter, to marry your daughter. A really good guy, a polite person. But my daughter is young! Don’t touch my daughter because I’m jealous!”
Great win in a difficult field!! Now let’s go for the next challenge: Champions! pic.twitter.com/nk6GE4kKWA
— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) September 9, 2017
Conte insists he has no hard feelings towards Costa, despite a breakdown in their relationship in the latter part of last season, which culminated in the striker accusing the club of treating him “like a criminal”.
“I think every single player was important last season,” he said. “We won the title, maybe it was a big surprise, and also to reached the final of the FA Cup.
“For this reason, I think every player performed fantastic way last season, I want to thank every single player who played last season for Chelsea and for me.
“This season we have changed the striker and we have Alvaro and [Michy] Batshuayi, but don’t forget I can have another option: Eden Hazard. Last season, he played as a number nine twice, but I ask specific work of my strikers.
“We are talking two players who are very strong, two really good players, two number nines who are very strong. But I ask the same work of Alvaro and Michy, and in this position when I play Eden I ask the same. The number nine position is important as it’s a point of reference for our play.”