End of term report: Mateo Kovacic

However, with our form dropping in December, Kovacic continued to be rotated with Jorginho and Kante as Lampard tried to find the right midfield combination to arrest our decline.

Repaying faith

As we entered 2021, the combination of Kovacic’s form, an injury to Kante and a change of manager gave our no.17 the chance to cement his spot in the line-up. Having regained his place in the side under Lampard, he was selected by Thomas Tuchel for the German’s first game in charge, a spot he wouldn’t relinquish for some time.

From our first game of the year, Kovacic was named in the line-up for all but two of our league matches until late April, including a run of 10 consecutive Premier League starts – quite some achievement in such a relentless and condensed season. He also started all three Champions League matches in that time, including both legs of the win over Atletico Madrid.