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Chelsea boss Sarri: Morata mentally fragile like Sapanora

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has compared Alvaro Morata to to his 'mentally fragile' former Empoli midfielder Riccardo Saponara.

Sarri managed Saponara at Empoli before the former Italy Under-21 international was sold to AC Milan. However, the 26-year-old has since failed to reach his potential.

And the Italian sees similarities in Morata, who has struggled for consistency, despite having scored five league goals this season.

"It's difficult," Sarri said. "At Empoli I had a wonderful player, Riccardo Saponara, who we sold to AC Milan.

"Saponara was one of the best players I have ever seen, but a little bit mentally fragile.

"Alvaro has scored four or five goals in his last six matches, so I cannot see a big problem. I hope that there will be more this season.

"Every season he scores 15 or 16 goals, so he's around his average [goal return]. I speak with him every week, but on the pitch he is alone.

"I think that at the moment he's not playing to his full potential. It's difficult."

This is the second time in recent months that Sarri has questioned the mental strength of Morata, who is battling Olivier Giroud for a place in the Blues starting XI.

He said: "I think Alvaro has a very great physical and technical potential, so I think he can improve more.

"He's a little bit fragile from the mental point of view. But he's very young. I think he can improve, improve very fast."

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Freddie Taylor

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