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Chelsea's Alvaro Morata admits playing through back pain a 'mistake'

Chelsea's Alvaro Morata admits playing through back pain a 'mistake'
From ESPN - February 13, 2018

Alvaro Morata admitted that it was a mistake to play through the lingering back pain that had contributed to his slump in form and confidence for Chelsea.

Morata scored eight goals in his first eight Chelsea appearances following a club-record 58 million move from Real Madrid last summer, but since then, he has struggled physically and mentally with the demands of a relentless schedule.

"Chelsea is a big club, a club that has given me the opportunity to play as a starter, to grow even more," Morata told Movistar. "It's a team where I am very happy, where I started well until I had some physical problems.

"I made a mistake in that respect as I played with pain [earlier this season]. I went through a poor spell where I missed important goals but I was not well physically and mentally. I have to grit my teeth and do all that I can to return. We have the Champions League tie [against Barcelona]."

The Spain international returned to the pitch as a substitute in Monday's 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge, producing a lively 30-minute cameo after replacing January signing Olivier Giroud up front and forcing several impressive saves from Ben Foster.

It was an encouraging sight for Antonio Conte, who has been without Morata for almost a month since the striker was sent off during extra time of Chelsea's penalty shootout win over Norwich City in a dramatic FA Cup third-round replay.

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