• By Paul Lagan

Lampard on racism in football: The punishment needs to be strong

Frank Lampard was naturally delighted by his side's empahtic 2-0 win at Spurs this afternoon. The game was marred by allegations of racism targeted at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

Lampard said afterwards: "All I know is that Toni Rudiger said he heard a racist chant towards him. I haven’t had an individual conversation with Toni. I have only addressed the group and a couple of the lads in doping. Of course I am going support Toni, as we would support any of our players or opposition players if this happens, whatever stadium it happens at. It needs to be dealt with. As I don’t know any more than that, we will wait for the process to happen."

Lampard said when asked if the situation was getting worse: "I don’t know if it is getting better or worse or not. We are much more aware that we have a protocol to report it, which is a positive step. Of course, in a perfect world that protocol isn’t needed. I don’t know if it is getting better or worse, but if it is fact and true and it happened then it needs to be dealt with and the punishment needs to be strong."

One of the solution a player cam exercise is to walk off the pitch.

Lampard said of the prospect: "I don’t know. I have to be careful that we don’t talk about a matter of fact that has happened. It will be looked into. In terms of walking off the pitch, it has to feel right in the moment. If that moment comes I don’t want to guess what I would do, it would depend on what the players are saying, what they are feeling and would be absolutely 100 per cent behind them. If, and I am sure it would be a group decision, but we are not there yet. It’s hypothetical to a degree."

Of the claim by Spurs coach Mourinho that it was former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte#s system and players that won the game, Lampard dismissed the idea out of hand.

He said; "No, it didn’t factor at all. I don’t know if I want to go through all the players, but I am sure half of the players on the pitch weren’t there. I know Tomori wasn’t, Mason Mount wasn’t, Tammy Abraham. I’m not trying to clone anyone’s system. In fact, I think Conte’s system was an incredible one that won the league with Chelsea. The way we play and the message I give is different. It is not as simple that if you play 4-3-3 that you are cloning someone else, otherwise you are all cloning each other. It was more, can this be a system that helps us defensively and offensively against Tottenham? The way they play. That was my choice to play it, not whether players understand it. Having said that the players took the plan on incredibly well."

"I think, watching Tottenham, they’re playing really well. They’ve got a lot of players who can run behind and cause you problems – Son, Kane, Alli, Moura. Having an extra centre-back gives you an element of protection, particularly with the centre-backs we have. They never got in on that pass today. The most important factor in my thinking was what it could bring us offensively in terms of controlling possession. I felt that, where Tottenham do defend quite compact we needed to use the sides of the pitch. Wing-backs help that. We haven’t been clinical lately but it allowed us to get Mason Mount and Willian slightly inside behind Tammy. So we had an element of protection and it worked but also it allowed us to have loads of control of the ball. I was pleased with how it did go."

"We’ve waited a long time through a week’s training to be able to work on what we wanted to do today so that’s been great. That’s not just me. It’s not just about me, it’s about the staff and the input. We spoke a lot this week. We worked with the players on the pitch. So for me the reason to get so excited was not to look like we’ve actually accomplished anything because we haven’t, we play Southampton in a few days and we need to worry about where we’re at in May. But I think for the players to feel how they should feel after that performance and for the fans to see what they can do when you’re absolutely at it in all senses is a big deal. Now, can we be consistent? Can we keep reproducing?"

Of the red card given to Son, the Chelsea head coach had no doubt it was deserved.

"It was a red card. I don’t know how much he’s supposed to make out of it. I think Son is a great player and, I don’t know him, from the outside he looks like a great person. But sometimes in football you have instinctive moments. It happened, it was a bit of a reflex. Maybe sometimes in a game where you’re having it really tough and it’s going against you a little bit and I think it was that moment. I will not have any words said about how Toni Rudiger dealt with that."

On his former manager Mourinho, Lampard said: "I think to go up against a manager who I respect so much from my playing days and for what he’s done in the game and win, that obviously feels good.

"He spoke before the game about how he really loves me but he wants to beat me. That’s completely understandable and that’s how I went into this game. It should never change that, even if we have anything on the line in the heat of the 90 minutes, which we didn’t. It wouldn’t change that, what Jose has done with his career and what he’s done for me as a player means I have respect for him."

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