Spanish striker Alvaro Morata cannot be compared to Chelsea icon Didier Drogba, the Premier League champions’ coach Antonio Conte said on Friday.
Morata – who is likely to return to the first team on Saturday against Southampton after missing the win over Huddersfield Town due to a bad back – revealed this week he has been watching old film footage of Drogba in his pomp at Chelsea.
The Ivory Coast great scored 164 goals — including the equaliser against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and the decisive penalty in the shootout — in 381 appearances over two spells at Stamford Bridge.
Conte, who has effectively raised the white flag in terms of defending the title with Manchester City 14 points clear of his team, said 25-year-old Morata was not yet the finished article.
“Two different players, different characteristics,” said Conte.
“Didier Drogba, I think, he wrote the history of this club. He’s a wonderful player, a wonderful striker.
“I think he’s more powerful than Alvaro, but Alvaro, don’t forget, has a lot of space for improvement.
“He’s strong physically, is a technical player. I see a great future for Alvaro.”
Conte was not sure whether Morata — who has scored nine goals in 15 appearances this season — and his team-mates will find Southampton as easy pickings as Leicester City did in their 4-1 away win on Wednesday.
“To find Southampton in this position, I’m a bit surprised. Their potential is more than this,” said Conte.
“I would prefer that Southampton had won the game against Leicester instead of losing in this way.
“This team are very strong. They’re a good team. The players are very fast.
“(On Saturday), my expectation is to suffer. I have this sensation. We must pay great attention.”