CHELSEA boss Frank Lampard was left ruing a disastrous night in the Champions League but was nonetheless impressed by Mateo Kovacic.
Since making his loan move from Real Madrid permanent in the summer, the Croat has become an increasingly important asset in the Blues midfield.
But he was unable to prevent Bayern Munich taking a 3-0 first leg win away from West London in Tuesday’s last-16 tie.
Serge Gnabry scored twice as Chelsea were dispatched by their more clinical, composed rivals.
And Lampard felt his players were taught a lesson by Bayern – with the exception of Kovacic.
He told reporters: “They need to understand the levels that the Champions League is when they get to the knockout stage.
“A lot of the players there today either haven’t played it, played maybe the Europa League, which is a big difference, or played it a few years ago.
“Certainly not at Chelsea to a point where we got to a success of semi-final, final, win it kind of times.
“So when you have an eye-opener like tonight, the only answer young or old is to look at it and say: ‘I’m not going to look at any other part of the team [other] than myself, who was I up against? Who was my direct competitor? How did I play against them?’
“I thought there were a couple of performances in our team, namely Kovacic, who played with a personality and a quality that makes you go: ‘Okay, he can play in pretty much any team with that level’.
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“Other than that we need to say tonight wasn’t a night where we showed that, and that’s on an individual to take responsibility.”
Kovacic arguably only started Tuesday’s defeat because of N’Golo Kante’s injury ruling him out.
Playing the full 90 minutes, the midfielder completed 89 per cent of his passes, a game-high eight dribbles and won an impressive five tackles.
This post written by Marc Mayo originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.