Interview

Mateo Kovacic reveals the heartwarming message behind his 'silly hand' celebration

Mateo Kovacic hadn’t scored for over 1,000 days and then, like London buses, two came in quick succession!

The Croatian midfielder netted his first Chelsea goal against Valencia in our last Champions League game, before adding to his tally on Saturday in our defeat to Everton. Both were similar well-taken strikes, too.

After each goal, the former Real Madrid man unleased a celebration that had plenty of people talking.

There was lots of speculation as to whom Kovacic was referring his ‘silly gesture’ celebration to and the midfielder has revealed all and explained why it is so special to him and his family.

‘I’ve had the celebration prepared for a while because I didn’t score last season!’ Kovacic joked.

‘It’s actually for my nieces. I have two nieces, one of which has Down’s Syndrome, and they do that [hand action] with me a lot. I love her a lot and the celebration was for them.

‘It’s nice when you score and you can celebrate with the family. They have waited a long time but now I hope I can continue like that.’

Before his pair of Chelsea strikes, Kovacic last found the net for former side Real Madrid on January 29, 2017. An incredible 1,033 days before he scored against Valencia.

As we head into tonight’s Champions League clash with Lille, knowing that victory will see us progress to the knockout stage of the competition, you wouldn’t bet against the Croatian getting on the scoresheet once again. Something his manager, Frank Lampard, has stated he expects to see more of, according to Mateo.

‘He has joked about that before but I also think he was being serious, because he knows I should score more goals,’ added Kovacic.

‘He has been preparing me to arrive late in the box to score more goals and it is just a consequence of training hard and preparing myself.

‘I think mentally I have become stronger this season. Last season I was obsessed a little bit [with not scoring] because people were always asking when I was going to score.

‘This summer I was just focused on preparing well and having a good season for the team and, as I said before, the goals are just consequences of training well and preparing myself.’

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