Mount ‘better than anybody else’ at Chelsea but has key weakness claims ex-coach

Mason Mount has been hailed as Chelsea’s “best player” during Frank Lampard’s 18-month managerial reign, but the midfielder has been warned he still has one key weakness to address by his former coach Jody Morris.

The 22-year-old has been a mainstay for the west London side ever since he broke into the team during Lampard’s first season in charge in 2019-20.

Mount is one of several youngsters who graduated from the club’s esteemed academy in Cobham and has gone on to play an important role for the Blues, helping them win the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup this year.

He has made 81 Premier League appearances and scored 16 goals in the process, missing only seven games since his debut for the club, and recently scored a hat-trick in the 7-0 drubbing over Norwich.

But when he was first integrated into the first-team fold, Mount’s place was called into question, with Lampard accused of favouring the creative midfielder due to their previous links at Derby.

But Mount has responded in perfect fashion, developing into a pivotal player for Chelsea, and his importance has been recognised by Thomas Tuchel, who took charge in January following Lampard's sacking.

Lampard’s former assistant Jody Morris worked with Mount at Derby and Chelsea and the 42-year-old has dismissed any claims of favouritism, insisting Mount deserved his place simply because he was outperforming his team-mates.

“He genuinely was performing better than anybody else,” Morris said, speaking on the Off The Hook podcast with Jimmy Bullard.

“Training better than them, performing [in matches] better than them.

“All the things I saw about Mason Mount were magnified just by people reporting on it. You’d get Joe Bloggs from down the road and you get other people questioning him.

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“But if you spoke to anyone who works in football or the top pundits, none of them were hammering Mason Mount. None of them.”

Morris also suggested that most of the criticism came from fans on social media, name-checking Christian Pulisic as one player that fans wanted to see ahead of youngsters like Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

“At Chelsea, I remember after games if we played Pulisic, I would get hundreds of messages saying that we should play Hudson-Odoi,” he said.

“If Pulisic isn’t playing, the whole of America were saying he should be playing. You’re always getting hammered.

“The one thing I would say about Mason is that it [the criticism] stayed as a constant because he played more than anybody else.

"But in the 18 months we were there, he was the best player we had, the best player at Chelsea.

“He was top drawer. He wants to improve, he gives you everything, he’s tactically so bright and again, that’s why he got player of the year last season.”

Mount has been nominated for the 30-man 2021 Ballon d’Or list along with fellow Chelsea team-mates N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

The attacking midfielder played a crucial role for club and country, helping the Blues win the Champions League with a fine assist for Kai Havertz’s winning goal.

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He nearly capped an incredible season with an international trophy as part of the England squad, but Gareth Southgate’s men fell at the final hurdle in the Euro 2020 final against Italy on penalties.

And Morris believes it is Mount’s relentless desire for self-improvement which puts him ahead of his peers after becoming a key figure for Chelsea and England.

But he hinted that he should be satisfied with what he has achieved in his short career and not be too hard on himself.

“Mason knows he can improve and that’s one of the best things I love about him,” he said.

“I spoke to him at the end of the season about the tournament [Euro 2020] and you speak to him and say ‘you need to score more goals’ and he’ll go ‘I know’.

“He’s the first one to say ‘I should’ve done this’. He wants to get better and the reason why he's developed is because he has that type of mentality.

“The kid’s just got player of the year in the year they won the Champions League and got to the final at the Euros. He played a pivotal role for both. And you're thinking well, what more does a 22-year-old have to do?"

You can listen to Jody Morris' interview in full on the Off The Hook with Jimmy Bullard podcast here.

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