Lampard assessment: Chelsea are on the right track, but far from finished article
Frank Lampard says he is reasonably satisfied with how things have gone in the first third of the campaign, but still expects much more from his developing Chelsea side.
The Blues impressed in Wednesday night’s 2-1 win against Aston Villa – the margin of victory should have been much bigger.
It was a welcome response to the dismal home defeat to West Ham at the weekend and the Chelsea boss says it underlines the potential he feels his young team has.
“I’m happy but I want more,” he said. “I think we’ve had a pretty good start, because a lot of people maybe expected otherwise and I think we’ve done pretty well. But I want more all the time.
“The last week has been a good example of that for us. I saw us go to Manchester City and trade with them, a big team at that [top] level, then I saw us play against West Ham, a team that’s not that.
“You’re going to lose games in the Premier League and I saw a recovery today, so that shows me that we have real potential to get where we want to be, but we also have to be aware that there might be little tough bumps across the road that we are going to have to overcome because we’re slightly transitional.
“The important thing is we keep working to improve every day.”
Tammy Abraham missed Saturday’s defeat because of a hip injury picked up at Valencia and returned to score one and lay on the second for Mason Mount.
He came off before the end, Lampard does not think there any serious aggravation of his injury. The striker’s return gave Chelsea far more threat.
“Tammy at the moment is a striker that’s near the top of the goalscoring charts in the league. He’s showing his all-round game, which stretches defences and starts our press,” Lampard said.
“He’s a personality that’s growing in our dressing room every day with his enthusiasm and his will to win – and of course if a player’s on such a good run, it’s normal that when they come out of the team, you can miss them. Today he came straight back in as he left off.”
Another player welcomed back was N’Golo Kante, who gave another masterclass in scampering efficiency and energy,
“He’s generally pretty much always good,” said his appreciative boss. “We’ve had to give him a bit of time with his injury this year. He’s had a tough start to it, but there’s not much you need to say to N’Golo. He just knows how to play the midfield role and I thought the balance between him and Mateo Kovacic today was great.
“His ability to win the ball and at a high intensity to leave areas to win it back – but also to have quality on the ball is what’s given him this tag of being an outstanding player in world football for the last four or so seasons, so it’s a pleasure to have him in my squad.”
Lampard said of the game itself: “It should have been more comfortable at the end. We were by far the better team. Created a lot of chances, which has been a pretty regular story of our season. We need to be more clinical, but in terms of the team I saw, it was the team that I want to see.
“West Ham it wasn’t. That was probably the one game this season where we’ve been below par in the basics and today was completely the team we want again and I thought we played really well the whole game. “
He was also pleased his team showed more spark than against West Ham, against whom, amazingly, they gave away no fouls.
“It was an easy element of my team talk to state the facts of no fouls, which kind of summed up our game at the weekend,” Lampard said. “It was pretty much the opposite of how we’ve been all season.
“The reason we’ve got credit is because of our performances and the energy and the urgency and how we want to play with a lot of speed in our game.”