Only goals can boost the fragile confidence of Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, according to head coach Maurizio Sarri.
The Spain striker and the Blues were profligate in Thursday night’s 1-0 win at PAOK in Europa League Group L.
Morata began his Chelsea career with seven goals in eight games last season, but has appeared shorn of confidence of late. He has scored once this season, in August’s win over Arsenal.
Sarri is scratching his head at how to revive Morata’s morale, but praised his improved movement.
“Alvaro has to gain confidence with one, two, three goals,” Sarri said.
“I am not able to give him confidence. In this match he has had three, four opportunities. He was unlucky.
“I hope for him that in the future I can try to help him, but the confidence can become only with goals.
“I have to say also, for maybe the first time in this season Alvaro was ready in the box. He was on the ball and was active.”
Chelsea have won five of five Premier League games so far under Sarri, ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, and Willian’s seventh-minute strike was the difference in Greece.
The 59-year-old Italian had predicted Thursday’s game would be the toughest obstacle and he was pleased to emerge with three points, although disappointed by the margin of victory.
“We have had a lot of opportunities. We missed several,” Sarri added.
“So I am really very happy with the three points, very happy with the performance, but I am not very happy with the result.
“When it is time to kill the match we have to kill the match.”
The one major blot was a stoppage-time shoulder injury for Pedro, which could potentially rule him out of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, which comes ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash at Liverpool and the Reds’ visit to Stamford Bridge on September 29.
Sarri said: “I don’t know exactly the situation. I have spoken with the doctor, but only for a few seconds. The doctor told me that probably it’s not a very serious injury.”