As he approaches the end of his first season in English football, Mateo Kovacic has been giving his views on the Premier League while revealing his satisfaction at finishing in the top four and reaching the Europa League final.
The midfielder joined Chelsea on loan from Real Madrid at the start of this season and has been a regular in Maurizio Sarri’s side throughout the campaign.
It has been a testing first season for him and his fellow newcomers, as the Blues got off to a great start before a difficult winter put our season in jeopardy.
But the team regrouped to secure a top-four spot in the Premier League, and qualification for next term’s Champions League, while continuing our run in the Europa League to reach a second final this season, following our appearance at Wembley in the League Cup.
‘This season has had many ups and downs,’ said Kovacic. ‘It was a bad season in one situation, now it’s a good season. We achieved the Champions League qualification, it was the main target for us, and now we are in another final this year. It could obviously be better but I think we have to be happy and enjoy these days.
‘I thought we could fight for the Premier League in the beginning but the Premier League is so difficult, if you lose one or two games you are out of the race. We had some games where we lost some stupid points, but it’s normal because we had a new coach, some new players came in, it’s our first season together. I think in the end we did a good job.’
However, the Croatian international sees those ups and downs as just more evidence of why he made the right decision in moving to England, with the highly competitive and unpredictable nature of the Premier League what makes it so popular for players and fans alike.
‘The Premier League is really incredible because the other teams, they lost quite a lot of points, we won, so in two games you change the season. At one point in the beginning we played really well, we were there and I thought for sure we would be in the Champions League. Then we were fifth or sixth and it was a season with a lot of ups and downs, but in the end I think we adapted very well.
‘There are no easy games and if you are leading 2-0 or 3-0, it still is not over. It is incredible for me. In other leagues if you are winning 2-0 or 3-0 it is mostly over, but in the Premier League in five minutes everything changes.
‘It’s very tough and physically very strong, so for me it’s the most difficult league in the world and I’m really happy that I can play here. For me it’s the most difficult and the best as well, because every game is difficult, the stadiums are amazing, the atmosphere is great. I’m sure that many players would say that this is the best league in the world.’