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Cudicini hopes Morata can be 'more free in his mind'

Alvaro Morata's brace in Chelsea's FA Cup third-round victory over Nottingham Forest can prompt an upturn in the enigmatic striker's form, according to assistant head coach Carlo Cudicini.

Spain international Morata scored his first goals in six appearances for Chelsea to help the Blues secure a place in the fourth round during a week in which the club announced that another forward, Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic, would be joining next season.

Morata has made just 11 Premier League starts for Chelsea this term, with head coach Maurizio Sarri often preferring a front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro.

But Cudicini backed the former Real Madrid man to add to his five league goals after a successful outing against Championship opposition, saying: "I think Alvaro played an important part in [the] performance.

"He was very good in terms of working for the team, offensively but mainly defensively.

"It was very important for him to score two goals which can only be good for his confidence. We are all pleased with his performance but we were even when he didn't score in previous games.

"Hopefully it will be good for his morale that he scored, and hopefully he will be more free in his mind."

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Morata revealed earlier in the season that he had considered a move away from Chelsea after struggling with the pressure of life in the Premier League, and he opened up about seeking help from a psychologist to deal with mental health problems that have affected him throughout his career.

Cudicini backed the 26-year-old to overcome his difficulties and praised his efforts on the training ground.

"[Assistant manager] Gianfranco Zola mentioned in the press conference before the match that for a striker it's difficult when you go through a spell when you don't score many goals," said Cudicini.

"His body language was a bit down, but in training he's working very hard and we all knew that sooner or later he would be able to turn the corner and start scoring goals.

"Thankfully he did it today. It was very important because we really care about this competition and we want to do well.

"He's a great striker, he has great qualities and now his confidence is back I'm sure he will keep on scoring goals for us.

"I think everyone is different. Some players are perhaps more affected by criticism they receive but for us the most important thing is that he's training hard and he wants to improve.

"Performance-wise, on top of the goals, it was very important he did a fantastic job for the team."