‘Disaster’ season made Morata ponder Chelsea exit

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FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Arsenal – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – August 18, 2018 Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

Alvaro Morata admits he considered leaving Chelsea after a “disastrous” year that culminated in him missing the World Cup.

Morata was dropped from the Spain squad after scoring only three times in 23 games for Chelsea in the second half of last season.

“Yes I considered returning to Spain or Italy, but you cannot always escape reality,” Morata said.

“I left Spain to be at the World Cup and I did not go.”

Since then, Luis Enrique has taken the Spanish reins from Julen Lopetegui’s short-term replacement, Fernando Hierro, while Maurizio Sarri has arrived at Chelsea after Antonio Conte departed in July.

Enrique’s first squad included a recall for Morata, who has also started Chelsea’s four Premier League games so far under Sarri.

“Last year I started well but in the end it was a disaster,” Morata said. “I did not even know where I was when I went out to play.”

Asked how he felt after being left out of the World Cup squad, the 25-year-old said: “I thought ‘how am I going to get through the summer without going to the World Cup?’

“It was a hard moment but I’m going to do everything I can to go to the next one. It was a difficult time because I expected to go.”

Morata had lost the confidence of Conte, who experimented with Eden Hazard as a lone striker and then preferred Olivier Giroud towards the end of the campaign.

Sarri, however, appears to be offering Morata a fresh start.

“At my club, the way of playing has changed and it’s more similar to what is played here with Spain, many passes, a lot of possession and freedom to attack,” Morata said.

Enrique, meanwhile, is tasked with reinvigorating a Spanish side still smarting after their shock last-16 defeat to Russia at the World Cup. They face England at Wembley in the League of Nations before hosting Croatia on Tuesday in Elche.

“Luis Enrique tells us that he wants Spain to win again and wants everyone to know who Spain is,” Morata said.

“He asks for a lot of intensity, a lot of concentration and he seems to me a very sincere person, who wants to win.”