Morata: Playing through back pain was a mistake

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata admitted his decision to play on despite feeling pain in his back was “a mistake,” citing that choice as the reason for his less-than-stellar scoring form in his last few appearances for the Blues.

Morata’s start at Stamford Bridge saw him notch eight goals in as many matches, but his last strike came in December. He has since featured in seven matches in all competitions without finding the back of the net.

The Spain striker returned to the field on Monday as a substitute in a 3-0 win over West Brom, his first bit of action since being ruled out with the back injury about one month ago. He figures he’s now ready to contribute once again.

“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, as quoted by Liam Twomey of ESPN FC. “It’s a team where I’m very happy, where I started well until I had some physical problems.

“I made a mistake in that respect as I played with pain. I went through a poor spell where I missed important goals but I wasn’t well physically and mentally. I have to grit my teeth and do all that I can to return.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted he had been worried about Morata’s fitness of late, telling reporters he wasn’t sure if his star striker would be out for “a month, a week, or the season.”

Further questions of Morata’s fitness arose when he was spotted dancing with his wife in a video posted on social media, despite being ruled out with back pain. Morata responded to criticism in the comments by explaining it was an old video, and that he wasn’t injured any longer.

That statement was confirmed a few days later as Morata came off the bench against West Brom and crafted an assist in that 3-0 victory.

Morata could next feature against Hull City in the FA Cup, or in the first leg of a round of 16 Champions League matchup with Barcelona.

EPL | theScore

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