Chelsea Complete Signing Of Havertz From Bayer Leverkusen

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and new signing Kai Havertz bump fists after the latter joined the English premier league club from Bayer Leverkusen on September 4, 2020.
Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and new signing Kai Havertz bump fists after the latter joined the English premier league club from Bayer Leverkusen on September 4, 2020.

 

Chelsea took their summer spending spree to nearly £200 million with the signing of German international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal on Friday.

Havertz’s arrival at Stamford Bridge for a reported £71 million ($94 million) is the Blues’ latest statement of intent as they seek to cut the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

The 21-year-old, who can play as an attacking midfielder or as a forward, joins international teammate Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva in joining the club for Frank Lampard’s second season in charge.

Chelsea finished fourth in the Premier League last season, 33 points behind champions Liverpool.

“I am very happy and proud to be here. For me it is a dream come true to play in a big club like Chelsea and I can’t wait to meet all the players and the trainers,” Havertz told the Chelsea website.

Havertz’s move eclipses Werner’s short-lived record as Germany’s most expensive footballer after he joined Chelsea for 53 million euros in June.

That is not the only record Havertz has taken from Werner.

He succeeded the former RB Leipzig striker as the youngest player to make 50 and then 100 Bundesliga appearances since becoming Leverkusen’s youngest ever player when he made his debut at 17.

He scored 46 goals in 150 competitive games for Leverkusen, including 18 last season, but that was not enough to lead them back into the Champions League as they finished fifth in the Bundesliga and went out in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Havertz was keen to make the move to a Champions League club and Chelsea moved quickly to secure his signature despite appearing to have more pressing concerns at the other end of the field.

‘Exciting, dynamic talent’

“Kai is one of the best players of his age in world football, so we are very happy that his future lies at Chelsea,” said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

“He has proven pedigree in one of the best leagues in Europe, he plays for the German national side and he is an exciting, dynamic talent. We are delighted to be able to add his versatility and quality to the squad before the season begins.”

Leverkusen’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) and his teammates react after the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Inter Milan v Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Duesseldorf Arena on August 10, 2020 in Duesseldorf, western Germany. Martin Meissner / POOL / AFP

 

Havertz’s goal threat, physical attributes and ability to unlock a defence have earned him comparisons both to former Chelsea midfielder and Germany captain Michael Ballack and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.

“He is special. He is like a hybrid of Michael Ballack and Mesut Ozil,” said former Manchester United and Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves. “That says a lot in terms of his goals and elegance. He is a super player.”

Huge things are expected of one of Europe’s hottest prospects and Chelsea are making up for lost time in what they believe is a buyer’s market due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A transfer ban meant Lampard was not given any money to spend in his first season in charge, while Chelsea also banked a club record fee last summer for Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid.

The spending spree also signals that Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is still very much invested in his club’s fortunes, even if he no longer resides in London.

There could yet be more new signings to come with a goalkeeper high on Lampard’s wishlist.

Chelsea spent a world record £72 million for a goalkeeper on Kepa Arrizabalaga just two years ago, but the Spaniard lost his place to 38-year-old Willy Caballero twice last season.

 

AFP

Lampard Focused On Finishing Third Rather Than Crowning Liverpool

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will happily play a part in crowning Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years, but only because it would mean his side have taken points from Manchester City on Thursday.

Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to win at Stamford Bridge to keep the title race alive for another week before they host Liverpool on July 2.

Chelsea are in need of the points themselves to cement their place in the top four, with Lampard keen to catch Leicester in third before the season is over.

“I have had absolutely no thought of Liverpool’s situation, it makes no odds to us at all,” said Lampard.

“We respect Liverpool and Manchester City as two fantastic teams, in the last two to three seasons they’ve been dominant, but we can only look at what this match means for us.”

Chelsea famously played a big part on the night Leicester clinched the league in the 2015/16 season, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Tottenham in what became dubbed “The Battle of the Bridge” after nine of the Spurs side were booked.

“I don’t think you can compare a Chelsea-Tottenham game to potentially stop Tottenham winning the league,” added Lampard on the rivalry between the London sides.

“I am aware of the situation, but I can only focus on us.

“We have a job to do and our job is to go up against one of the best teams in the world over the last few seasons and try to get a result.”

 

 

-AFP

Lampard Focused On Finishing Third Rather Than Crowning Liverpool

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in London on December 14, 2019.
OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will happily play a part in crowning Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years, but only because it would mean his side have taken points from Manchester City on Thursday.

Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to win at Stamford Bridge to keep the title race alive for another week before they host Liverpool on July 2.

Chelsea are in need of the points themselves to cement their place in the top four, with Lampard keen to catch Leicester in third before the season is over.

“I have had absolutely no thought of Liverpool’s situation, it makes no odds to us at all,” said Lampard.

“We respect Liverpool and Manchester City as two fantastic teams, in the last two to three seasons they’ve been dominant, but we can only look at what this match means for us.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Crisis Sinks Global Economy In 2020, Collapsing GDP 4.9% – IMF

Chelsea famously played a big part on the night Leicester clinched the league in the 2015/16 season, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Tottenham in what became dubbed “The Battle of the Bridge” after nine of the Spurs side were booked.

“I don’t think you can compare a Chelsea-Tottenham game to potentially stop Tottenham winning the league,” added Lampard on the rivalry between the London sides.

“I am aware of the situation, but I can only focus on us.

“We have a job to do and our job is to go up against one of the best teams in the world over the last few seasons and try to get a result.”

AFP

‘I Was So Discouraged,’ Drogba Recalls Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League Triumph

File photo of Didier Drogba

 

Exactly eight years after winning the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea, Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba has narrated his experience during the final of the competition.

Chelsea’s 2011/2012 campaign was almost in shambles after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked midway into the season in March 2012.

A resurgent Blues, however, overturned a 4-1 first leg quarter-final deficit against Napoli, before defeating competition-favourite, Barcelona to pitch them with Bayern Munich in the final of Europe’s elite club championship.

In the final played at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, the German side, expectedly, enjoyed a lion’s share of possession and were rewarded with a goal by Thomas Muller in the 83rd minute.

READ ALSO:Paralympic Champion Oyema Receives Four-Year Doping Ban

While recalling the Champions League win on May 19 2012, Drogba said in a post on his official Instagram handle that he had given up after the Bavarians netted their goal.

Even though the situation on the pitch that night looked gloomy, teammate, Juan Mata was still optimistic, the Ivorian legend narrated.

According to Drogba, Mata told him he had “to believe” his side can turn the game around.

The former Galatasaray star was to later grab Chelsea’s equaliser and forced the game into extra time after heading home a corner from Mata. And in what many Blues’ fans describe as the London side’s most glorious moment, Drogba scored the winning penalty in the shootout to hand Roberto Di Mateo’s men the trophy.

“Eight years ago,” Drogba began in his post, “the manager had been sacked by the club and we, the players, had a team meeting where we recognised being partly responsible for his departure.

“The captain John Terry spoke, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and other leaders in the group too.

“We decided to all give this competition everything, despite our 4-1 defeat against Napoli. We had been chasing this trophy for eight years and couldn’t do better than the runner-up. Everyone agreed to put egos aside and challenge each other for the same goal.

“After that meeting, I asked a young 23-year-old Juan Mata, ‘Please Maestro, help me win the Champions League.’ ‘He looked at me like, ‘Man you’re crazy, you’re Didier Drogba you are gonna help me win it!’

“I then told him, ‘I’ve been here for eight years and never won it, so I believe you’re the one who is gonna help us win. I’ll even give you a present if we win it.’ That was the end of February.”

Narrating further, he said: “Three months later, we were in Munich, in the final, in their stadium, submerged with a red wave. The hosts took the lead with eight minutes to go and on my way to kick the ball for the last eight minutes I was so discouraged, the young man said to me, ‘Believe Didi, you have to believe.’

“Almost in tears, I answered after looking at the time score, ‘Believe in what? It’s almost over.’ I was gonna cry like a few months ago when I lost the final with the Ivory Coast.”

“Last minute, last corner, I mean the first corner for us against eighteen for Bayern Munich. Guess who took that corner kick… Juan Mata. And the rest is history. The lesson is ALWAYS BELIEVE!”

 

See Drogba’s post below:

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I bet you’ve all seen videos of the @championsleague final so I just wanted to tell you a little story of mine months before winning this trophy Eight years ago, the Manager had been sacked by the club and we, the players had a team meeting where we recognised being partly responsible for his departure. The captain @johnterry spoke, @franklampard @petrcech and other leaders in the group too. We decided to all give this competition everything, despite our defeat 4-1 against Napoli. We had been chasing this trophy for eight years and couldn’t do better than runner up. Everyone agreed to put egos aside and challenge each over for the same goal. After that meeting I asked a young 23 years old @juanmatagarcia “please Maestro, help me win the champions league “ he looked at me like “man you’re crazy, you’re Didier Drogba you are gonna help me win it, I then told him I’ve been here for 8 years and never won it so I believe you’re the one who’s gonna help us win. I’ll even give you a present if we win it, that was end of February. Three months later, we were in Munich, in the final, in their stadium, submerged with a red wave. The hosts took the lead with 8 minutes to go and on my way to kick the ball for the last 8 minutes I was so discouraged, the young man said to me “believe Didi, you have to believe” , almost in tears I answered after looking at the time score “believe in what? It’s almost over, I’m gonna cry like a few months ago when I lost the final with Côte d’Ivoire. Last minute, last corner, I mean first corner for us against eighteen for Bayern Munich. Guess who took that corner kick… @juanmatagarcia and the rest is history. The lesson is ALWAYS BELIEVE !!!! @chelseafc Happy 8th Birthday to US. 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙 #theprideoflondon #ktbffh #munich2012

A post shared by didierdrogba (@didierdrogba) on

Lampard Laments Severe Chelsea Injury Crisis

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in London on December 14, 2019.
OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP

 

Frank Lampard bemoaned on Friday the “worst injury” crisis among the Premier League’s top sides as his Chelsea team prepare to face Everton with as many as nine frontline players unavailable.

“It hasn’t been spoken about that much but we’ve had probably the worst injury list of certainly the top group of the table I think, lots of numbers injured, important players injured, (N’Golo) Kante, (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek and others,” Lampard said on Friday.

“We started the season that way and it’s happened again in the middle of the season. And we’re working against that to try to get the best results.”

Mateo Kovacic is out of Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge with an Achilles problem while Brazil forward Willian will face a late fitness test on his own Achilles issue.

Lampard revealed Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic played in an “in-house game” at Chelsea’s training ground on Friday.

Jorginho starts a two-match league suspension, while Kante is still out with an adductor problem, Andreas Christensen remains doubtful and Tammy Abraham is out with his ankle complaint.

Meanwhile Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury in his first full training session back with Chelsea’s first team.

“Callum had a re-injury, yesterday. We’re having a scan on him this afternoon. So he will be longer than expected,” Lampard said.

“It’s tough, he wasn’t rushed back, and we had all the signs that he was fit to train. Then he re-injured it on his first training session with us.”

Lampard said former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, now in charge at Everton, would receive a warm reception on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Chelsea boss said he had enjoyed working as a player with the Italian during his spell at the London club, which included Premier League and FA Cup triumphs.

“Very well-respected in-house and to the fans, I think a well-respected period at the club,” said Lampard. “He’s a gentleman, a fantastic manager.

“I loved working with him personally. I think he’ll get a great reception.”

AFP

Premier League: Lampard Impressed By January Signing, Ziyech’s Character

Ajax attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech is set to move to Chelsea in the summer after the clubs agreed a deal in principal, a Dutch newspaper reported on February 12, 2020. AFP

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said on Friday he is impressed by how his first signing for the club Hakim Ziyech has not allowed his tough upbringing to influence his performances on the pitch.

The 26-year-old winger will be a  Blues player next season after Dutch side Ajax agreed to an offer of 40 million euros ($43.4 million) from the Premier League side on Thursday.

The Moroccan international lost his father aged 10, two of his older brothers served prison time for burglary and he had drugs-related problems with the police as a teenager.

Lampard, though, said Ziyech had left his past behind him in the performances he had seen including his outstanding display at Stamford Bridge this season in the 4-4 Champions League group stage clash.

“I had been watching him a lot,” Lampard said at a press conference.

“I was impressed by him at Tottenham last season (Champions League semi-final). We want to bring in good people and he ticks a lot of boxes. I’m delighted.

“I have spoken to him. I know the story, his upbringing and home life. I would say from the outside when you see someone come through tough times, he has shown his quality on the pitch and attitude and that is good.

“I am excited to work with him.”

Lampard’s side face Manchester United on Monday in a pivotal match regarding the fourth and final Champions League spot with his outfit in fourth spot, six points clear of eighth-placed United.

The former Blues midfielder said he hoped Ziyech would provide a killer final ball which the team have lacked this term.

“The ability to make assists and score goals,” he said.

“We have had a lot of the ball but not the final ball, hopefully, he can bring that next season.

“He will have to fit in the way we want to play here, but the quality will hopefully be there to see.”

Kepa sympathy 

Lampard refused to say if goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga would regain his place for the United match.

Lampard had dropped the Spain international for their last Premier League game prior to the mini-break — the 2-2 draw with Leicester City — and brought in veteran Willy Caballero.

“The reaction (from Arrizabalaga) has been good, as I would expect,” he said.

“I haven’t had lots of conversations with him. It’s a decision I will have to make. I don’t take into account the fee (that Chelsea paid for Kepa). It’s the training that counts.

“I know how it will feel for him. I had it in my career, it is part and parcel. I deal with the players as it feels right. I am open and straight with them.”

AFP

Lampard Develops Interest In Cavani After Planned PSG Exit

This file photo taken on September 15, 2015 shows Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani celebrating after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Malmo at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD / AFP

 

Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani’s desire to leave Paris Saint-Germain has stoked the interest of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who has bemoaned his players’ lack of clinical finishing.

Tammy Abraham has scored 16 goals in all competitions this season but Lampard is aware that he needs support.

The 1-0 defeat by Newcastle on Saturday highlighted a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal with defeat preventing Chelsea from extending their advantage over their rivals for a Champions League place.

Fourth-placed Chelsea play Arsenal on Tuesday and are presently five points clear of Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Arsenal are 10 points adrift of their London rivals.

Cavani is PSG’s record goalscorer with 198 but the 116-times capped striker told the board he wanted to leave for Atletico Madrid having fallen behind Mauro Icardi in the pecking order this season.

However, Lampard said he would be interested in a striker of the 32-year-old’s class when he was told at the eve of match press conference of  Cavani’s desire to leave PSG.

“He’s a great player,” said Lampard of Cavani.

“I played against him and I always loved his mentality and attitude, and obviously his goal-scoring record speaks for itself.

“I’m not absolutely aware of what the situation is, so we’ll see.

“The idea of bringing in experience is something I’m certainly not absolutely looking away from.

“Because sometimes the young players need a little bit of help, and if that’s the case then that may help us.”

Lampard denied that defeat by Newcastle made it all the more urgent he delve into the transfer market.

“I don’t think Newcastle hastens anything, it’s just we couldn’t do any business in the summer window,” said Lampard referring to the FIFA transfer ban which has now been lifted but which existed in the close season.

“At this point, it’s something (lack of accurate finishing) we’ve seen as a bit of a problem in our home games.

“So we’ve got to work hard with the group here, and then if we can improve in terms of goal scoring, it’s for sure something we have to look at.”

AFP

‘I Am Not Mourinho’s Clone,’Says Lampard

 

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard , 2019. OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Frank Lampard insists he doesn’t want to emulate Jose Mourinho’s unique style as the Chelsea manager plots to out-wit his old boss in Sunday’s crucial clash at Tottenham.

Lampard’s first Premier League meeting with Mourinho is the headline act in a fascinating derby that will determine which of the London rivals spends Christmas Day in the top four.

Spurs manager Mourinho played a key role in Lampard’s emergence as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats during their time together at Stamford Bridge.

Yet while Mourinho’s managerial credentials are well established after winning a host of trophies during his glittering 19-year career, Lampard is still carving out a name for himself in the coaching world.

The former England midfielder is in just his second season as a manager after leaving Championship side Derby to take charge at Chelsea in July.

Lampard acknowledges Mourinho was a big influence on him as a player but, now he is in the dug-out, he will follow his own path rather than copy the Portuguese coach.

Asked to name the most important lesson he took from working with Mourinho, Lampard said: “There’s not one thing, no; he’s obviously a good manager with loads of good attributes.

“But there’s not one specific thing I learned working under him, and I wouldn’t strive to be a clone or anything.

“I’m happy to go up against Jose; for me to play under him, he was a big influence in my career.”

Lampard and Mourinho remain on good terms from their Chelsea days — the Tottenham manager promising a “big hug” when they meet before kick-off and talking of his “love” for the 41-year-old.

But that didn’t stop the student admitting beating his old teacher in such an important game would be a memorable moment.

READ ALSO:I Am 100% Tottenham,’Says Mourinho Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

– ‘Every point is crucial’ –

Chelsea were 12 points ahead of Tottenham when Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

That gap is now down to just three after Mourinho masterminded an immediate Tottenham revival with four wins from his five league games.

In contrast, Chelsea are experiencing the first major blip of Lampard’s reign after four defeats in their last five league matches.

“To go up against him for Derby against Manchester United last year was a big deal for me. And that still remains,” said Lampard in reference to last season’s win over Mourinho when they met in the League Cup third round.

“I’ll always have respect for him. The bigger thing is Chelsea-Tottenham, and what that rivalry means to our players and us.

Lampard won two league titles with Mourinho at Chelsea, but they are managerial peers now and the former England star recognises his old boss has a squad capable of denting his ambitions by knocking the Blues out of the top four.

“It should be relatively even when you look at the last four years, where Chelsea and Tottenham have been fighting to get into the top four. It’s always a competitive fixture,” Lampard said.

Mourinho’s impact at Tottenham has surprised some who claimed he was finished as a top manager after his last two jobs with Chelsea and United ended in acrimonious circumstances.

But the 56-year-old never doubted his ability to Tottenham back on track and now he wants to underline their resurgence with a statement win against Chelsea.

“When we arrived we were 12 points distance, we were closer to the bottom than the top,” Mourinho said.

“But of course we knew where we belong and we knew it was a question of time to leave this awful position and to have an approach.

“We know we can end this year in the top four. But this is not just between us and Chelsea. Manchester United are involved, Wolves are involved. Every point is crucial.”

AFP

Lampard Hints At Striking Reinforcements In January Transfer Window

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard watches from the touchline during the UEFA Champion’s League Group H football match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge in London on December 10, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hinted he could dip into the transfer market next month to strengthen his attacking options after they secured their place in the Champions League last 16.

The club’s FIFA-imposed transfer ban was last week reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning they are free to sign players again.

Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Lille, courtesy of goals form Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta, sent the Blues through as runners-up to Valencia but Lampard bemoaned his side’s poor chance-conversion rate.

The victory followed a run of just one win from five matches in all competitions, including a 3-1 defeat to struggling Everton at the weekend, after a bright start to the season.

Jadon Sancho and Wilfried Zaha have been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge in recent weeks and Lampard said he was considering his options.

“I will look at all areas of the team but I think it was quite clear in the summer that you lose Eden Hazard, who was a huge part of scoring or creating our goals last season and the season before that,” he said.

“I think we’ve found ways as a team where we can still be competitive. We’ve shown that in the league and now the Champions League.

“But going forward if we’re looking at if we can get even better. Can we get better in forward areas to help competition to help the idea of being more clinical, then I think we’ll always look at that.”

Lampard said he was “calm” about the transfer window despite recent poor results.

“We are improving and even the little bumps during the last two weeks are part of the process and we don’t see so much in January that you can do great business,” he said.

“If it is there to be done and it feels like it is right for the club that is a conversation for me and upstairs, but I am very calm with January.”

The draw for the Champions League round of 16 will take place on Monday and Chelsea could face old manager Maurizio Sarri, now in charge of Juventus.

Other possible opponents include Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and RB Leipzig.

AFP

Lampard Challenges Young Chelsea Players To Step Up

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard sets out markers for a training session at Chelsea’s Cobham training facility in Stoke D’Abernon, southwest of London on December 9, 2019, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group H football match against Lille. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Frank Lampard has challenged his young Chelsea players to “make a mark” ahead of their crucial Champions League match against Lille on Tuesday after a series of poor results took the shine off their season.

Chelsea must beat the French side at Stamford Bridge to ensure safe passage to the knockout stages, with manager Lampard expecting far sharper focus than his players showed during the 3-1 weekend defeat to Everton.

He admitted Chelsea’s recent poor form — just one win in five games — was his first big challenge as Blues boss, and wants his players to embrace the pressure of this week’s must-win clash.

“It is a test for us and it was always going to come,” Lampard said during his pre-match press conference on Monday.

“The way we are, the nature of the Premier League, this was never going to be a plain sailing, invincible season from our point of view. Teams need this test.

“Big games like this, they are crucial for the players. You can be defined as an individual and a group by success.”

Lampard, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, said he had been fortunate to have enjoyed many big nights as a player.

“So these are big opportunities now for the team, particularly the young boys when it’s quite new to them, to make a mark,” he said. “So I think it’s good, I like the pressure of this game being knockout.

“If we’re going to do anything good here, we’re going to have to have lots of these nights.”

Lampard said his side’s poor run had not yet altered his view on January recruitment plans after the club’s FIFA transfer ban had been lifted.

“I wouldn’t say my mind is set on anything to be changed,” said Lampard, whose side are fourth in the Premier League despite their wobble.

“But you do learn from your players in tough times, not just in terms of what they do on the pitch but how their personality is.

“That was the disappointing thing at Everton. It wasn’t just that we were slightly off — I didn’t like that there were individual contact moments across the game that we lost. Because that’s a personality thing as much as anything else.”

Antonio Rudiger is fit for just his second appearance of the season following groin trouble, with the Germany centre-back likely to step into the Blues’ defence.

Lampard believes Rudiger can make an instant impact, with the 26-year-old’s return proving timely as Fikayo Tomori misses out due to a minor hip issue.

“He’s a good defender, it’s good to have him back and he’s training really well,” said Lampard, of Rudiger.

“He has got a lot of his fitness work done since the injury’s healed.

“People maybe overlooked the fact that we were missing a number of big players at the start of the season. Rudi is just back, so let’s see what he can add to us now.”

AFP

Chelsea To Look For New Signings In January

Last-Gasp Goal Gives Lampard Winning Start With Derby
Chelsea Manager Frank Lampard/AFP

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admitted the club will be on the lookout for new faces in the January window after a FIFA-imposed transfer ban was reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.

The ban, imposed following violations in the recruitment of minors, was reduced from two transfer windows to one, which Chelsea already served in the summer.

A fine was also reduced from 600,000 Swiss francs ($607,000; £462,000) to half that amount by the Lausanne-based court.

Lampard insisted he had not yet had any conversations with Chelsea’s board about transfer plans, but will start them now in earnest.

“It’s a positive outcome for us. It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward,” Lampard said at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton.

“So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.

“So from my point of view, for the club moving forward, it’s obviously a good thing.”

A CAS statement explaining their decision said that Chelsea were guilty of violating rules related to the international transfer and registration of minors, “but for a significantly smaller number of players”, concluding that they were only guilty of one third of the violations found by FIFA.

In addition, the breaches of other transfer rules “were found to be less serious than those attributed to Chelsea FC by FIFA”.

The initial ban was announced by football’s world governing body in February, but Chelsea had always denied wrongdoing.

It followed a FIFA probe into Chelsea’s signing of foreign under-18 players, including the club’s former forward Bertrand Traore, a Burkina Faso international who now plays for French Ligue 1 club Lyon.

Traore signed professional forms for Chelsea in 2013 at the age of 18 but was not registered until January the following year.

At first they appealed to FIFA who partially lifted the ban in April, although only for players under 16 who are not “international transfers and first registrations of foreign minor players”.

That left Chelsea still unable to sign players over 16 during the summer transfer window.

‘Important we get it right’ 

Chelsea had been eager to have the ban lifted at the time, or at least suspended pending an appeal, so they could be in a position to sign a replacement for Eden Hazard, who was sold to Real Madrid.

Nevertheless, in the absence of new recruits, Lampard has enjoyed success promoting several members of the club’s youth academy to the first team.

Centre-back Fikayo Tomori, midfielder Mason Mount and striker Tammy Abraham have all returned from loan spells to become regulars, their form leading to England call-ups. Abraham is Chelsea’s top scorer with 12 goals this season.

Young full-back Reece James has also broken into the first team, while USA winger Christian Pulisic remains the last new signing brought to the club after being signed from Borussia Dortmund for £58 million ($74 million) last January.

Chelsea are currently fourth in the Premier League and Lampard admitted the club would need to be careful with their recruitment policy.

“The fact people have given us credit is that people expected less of us, so we have to give credit to the group that are working now,” he said.

“I still want more, I still feel we could have more points and be higher up the table, that’s my feeling. As we go forward of course if I feel there are positions we can strengthen then we will obviously look at that, as all big clubs do.

“That’s why people expected less of us this season, because lots of clubs around us and below us were spending £100 million and we didn’t have that chance, and we lost Eden Hazard and two number nines.

“Now the picture’s slightly changed and it’s important that we get it right moving forward.”

AFP

Court To Determine Chelsea Transfer Ban Fate Soon, Says Lampard

 

Frank Lampard expects to find out “very soon” whether Chelsea will be free to make any January signings, with the club waiting to learn the outcome of their FIFA transfer ban appeal.

Chelsea’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was heard last month, with the Blues contesting FIFA’s two-window ban relating to the recruitment of minors.

When asked when he expects to discover the result of that appeal, Lampard replied: “Very soon I believe. Days, I think.

“I haven’t heard any more, so I would wait and reserve judgement (on Chelsea’s plans for January) until we get the judgement and see where we want to go from there.”

Fourth-placed Chelsea will give Tammy Abraham “every possible chance” to face Aston Villa on Wednesday as the England striker recovers from a hip injury.

Lampard admitted the 22-year-old, who has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, is still battling pain from the problem he picked up in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia.

“We’re giving him every possible chance to be fit,” said the Chelsea boss, whose side have lost their past two league matches after a fine run.

“He’s still got some pain in the area of the injury. (We will) make a judgement tomorrow. It’s painful for him, so it’s a pain threshold and whether it affects his movements. So I wouldn’t want to commit today.”

Olivier Giroud, who led the line in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham, and Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi are continuing to press their claims up front, while US forward Christian Pulisic could operate as a false nine in Abraham’s absence.

Admitting the challenge of keeping his other strikers focused and happy given Abraham’s form, Lampard said: “Yes, in the modern day every manager wants to have that situation.”

“They are training well, supporting the group with a smile on their face and they are happy when we win,” he added. “They are determined to help if we don’t, whether they are starting or not.

“Those are the rules of modern football. Of course, it is a challenge and everyone is a human and they want to play every week. So I have to be aware of that at the same time.”

AFP