Lampard Blames Fast Paced Match Fixtures For Current Chelsea Form


Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

Frank Lampard says he is struggling to find the time to work with his new-look Chelsea team on the training pitch as the fixtures come thick and fast.

Tammy Abraham’s last-gasp strike rescued a 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after the London side had trailed 3-0.

The result means Chelsea have taken just four points from their first three Premier League matches after an opening win against Brighton and a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Lampard, who has spent heavily during the summer transfer window, blamed “very clear individual mistakes” for his team’s problems at the Hawthorns.

But he said it was difficult to put in enough work on the training ground, with two matches a week and a looming international break.

“I keep saying it and I’m not pleading or making excuses — it’s just a fact,” Lampard said ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Tottenham.

“Part of the reason we had a successful year last year was the work we put in on the training ground.”

“When you have new players in you really want to work like that,” he added. “We haven’t had the chance. So not just at the back, the whole way we’re playing, it needs work.

“Football doesn’t work that you throw things together and everything is amazing because otherwise, we wouldn’t have had managers who have shown that work brings success.”

After Saturday’s home Premier League match against Crystal Palace, Chelsea are not in action again until October 17, with players jetting off to represent their countries.

Lampard said he hoped they would not be over-worked by international managers and would “come back safely”.

The Chelsea boss made a point of defending goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose future at Chelsea is in doubt after the signing of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Lampard played down suggestions that the error-prone Spaniard may have played his last game for the club.

“It’s been a difficult time for Kepa,” he said. “I think that’s well-documented but I know it and he knows it.

“We should certainly not jump to that conclusion and also, which I feel quite strongly about in the last week, (we) understand that Kepa is a young man and a lot of the spotlight on him has become slightly unfair.

“I have to protect him because I know he’s a good lad and playing with absolute professionalism and intent to do the best he can.”

-AFP

Mendy Will Have To Wait For Chelsea Debut- Lampard

Edouard Mendy. Credit: Chelsea FC

 

Frank Lampard has revealed Chelsea’s new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is not ready to make his debut in Saturday’s Premier League clash at West Bromwich Albion.

Mendy joined Chelsea from French club Rennes on a five-year contract this week, strengthening Lampard’s goalkeeping options following Kepa Arrizabalaga’s dismal form.

Kepa is the world’s most expensive keeper but has rarely lived up to his £72 million ($91 million) price tag since arriving from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

The Spaniard’s costly mistakes are likely to see him replaced by Senegal international Mendy and he could even leave Chelsea in a loan deal before the transfer window closes in October.

But Lampard believes it is asking too much to give Mendy his first taste of English football following a hectic week in which he has hardly trained.

That leaves the door open for Kepa, who was at fault for goals in Chelsea’s first two Premier League games against Brighton and Liverpool, to be handed one last chance to save his job.

Lampard, who could also select Argentine veteran Willy Caballero against West Brom, told reporters on Friday: “Mendy to start tomorrow is not going to happen. He’s had a long week where he hasn’t trained.

“He flew in yesterday, it just feels too tight of a turnaround to put him in contention to start the game.”

Mendy’s £22 million move could well spell the end of Kepa’s reign as Chelsea’s number one.

Lampard is yet to hold a face-to-face meeting with the 25-year-old about his future, but will discuss his plans with Kepa and Caballero in the coming days.

“I have a very open line of communication with both of them,” he said. “The goalkeepers have their own small union at the training ground because of the way they work together.

“There is good competition there now and that is how we move forward.”

– ‘Winning mentality’ –

After spending around £220 million to revamp his squad, Lampard has seen several of his players linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho is reportedly a target for Arsenal, while Antonio Rudiger is said to be interesting Paris Saint-Germain.

Lampard said there were no plans to offload anyone at present, adding: “Every one will be a case-by-case situation. At the moment players remain ours.”

Lampard will take Chelsea to the Hawthorns without Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, who are both expected back in a week or two after injuries.

But he will be able to give Premier League debuts to close-season signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell after the pair featured in Wednesday’s League Cup win against Barnsley.

After Chelsea’s defensive struggles last season, Lampard needs a big impact from Brazil centre-back Silva and England left-back Chilwell.

“I’ve been very impressed with Thiago and Ben on and off the pitch,” he said. “They have both added to the dressing room. Thiago, albeit not speaking the language great, his winning mentality is something that comes across in gestures and actions rather than talking at the moment.

“With Ben in terms of character and how quickly he has settled in the dressing room, those have been really big positives for me.

AFP

Havertz Hat-Trick Helps Chelsea Hit Six, Arsenal Edge Out Leicester In League Cup

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

Frank Lampard said Kai Havertz is just getting started after opening his Chelsea account with a hat-trick in a 6-0 thrashing of Barnsley, while Arsenal also booked their place in the League Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win at Leicester.

Havertz had struggled to make an impact in his first two Premier League games since sealing a reported £71 million ($94 million) move from Bayer Leverkusen as the most expensive signing of Chelsea’s £200 million spending spree in the transfer market.

But the 21-year-old German was one of just three players to retain his place from Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and Lampard’s decision reaped its reward as he scored his first senior hat-trick.

“I am delighted with Kai, it was everything I wanted from him,” said Lampard.

“He had no pre-season so I wanted to give him more time on the pitch with his teammates, learning how we play and press. It was a great night for Kai and it is the first of many for him.”

 

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) reacts as he scores his team’s fourth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / various sources / AFP) 

 

Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell also made their Chelsea debuts, while Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley made the most of rare starts to get their names on the scoresheet.

Abraham pounced on loose pass deep in the Barnsley half to slam home the opener before Havertz’s calm finish opened his Chelsea account.

A brilliant unselfish flick from Abraham teed Havertz up perfectly to convert his second after Barkley drove home on his weaker left foot.

Havertz was due to be replaced by Chilwell 25 minutes from time but just completed his hat-trick in time by rounding Brad Collins before tapping into an empty net before Olivier Giroud completed the scoring.

“I am very happy to score three goals, but this is just my beginning at the club and I want to score more and more goals,” said Havertz.

 

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) celebrates with Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / various sources / AFP) 

Chelsea will face either Tottenham or Leyton Orient in the last 16 with the outcome of that tie yet to be decided after the match was postponed on Tuesday due to a number of coronavirus cases among the Orient players.

Arsenal won the only all-Premier League tie of the night as Christian Fuchs’s own goal broke the deadlock at the King Power.

Eddie Nketiah added a late second for the Gunners, who could face Liverpool at Anfield twice in three days next week should the Premier League champions progress past Lincoln on Thursday.

“It’s the toughest place to go in Europe and the world,” said Gunners boss Mikel Arteta. “Let’s prepare well and see how it goes.”

Everton continued their fine start to the season with a 5-2 win at League One Fleetwood despite two howlers from England number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men looked to be cruising into the last 16 when Richarlison’s double gave them a deserved 2-0 half-time lead.

However, Pickford’s attempted clearance was charged down for Mark Duffy to pull a goal back.

Alex Iwobi restored Everton’s two-goal advantage before another Pickford mistake gave Joey Barton’s men life again as he flapped Callum Camps’s shot into his own goal.

Goals from Bernard and Moise Kean finally ended the tie as a contest, but Pickford’s place for both Ancelotti and Gareth Southgate will come under increased scrutiny in the coming weeks.

“When we concede a goal, we are always frustrated,” said Ancelotti on Pickford’s performance.

Newcastle thrashed League Two Morecombe 7-0 with Joelinton scoring twice.

Miguel Almiron, Jacob Murphy, Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles were also on the scoresheet for Steve Bruce’s men.

Fulham, Brighton and Burnley progressed 2-0 over Championship opposition in Sheffield Wednesday, Preston and Millwall respectively.

Stoke were the only non-Premier League side to go through on the night as they also beat lower league opposition in Gillingham 1-0.

 

 

 

-AFP

Lampard Urges Hudson-Odoi To Seize His Chance At Chelsea

Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (C) and Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (L) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in London on July 26, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP)

 

Frank Lampard has challenged Callum Hudson-Odoi to prove his worth for Chelsea when he gets a rare first-team start in Wednesday’s League Cup clash against Barnsley.

The Blues boss has confirmed the England winger will make just his second start since February 1 in the match at Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old shot to prominence with both Chelsea and England after making his debut for the club in 2018, but a ruptured Achilles tendon last year slowed his progress.

Hudson-Odoi has long since shaken off that issue but continues to battle for regular football and Lampard said it “remains to be seen” whether he could be loaned out before the transfer window closes on October 5.

The Chelsea boss said the winger must seize his opportunities while other players were unavailable.

“At the moment we have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured. We played Timo Werner out wide against Liverpool,” he said. “But the absolute natural winger who is fit at the minute is Callum.

“He has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team and that’s the position Callum is in at the minute.

“He’s had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he’s had an injury and now I want to see him flourish again.”

Bayern Munich are reportedly keen to sign Hudson-Odoi on loan and Lampard, who has been busy in the transfer market, has not ruled out departures.

Centre-back Toni Rudiger was omitted from Chelsea’s squad for Sunday’s 2-0 league loss to Liverpool.

Asked if Rudiger or Hudson-Odoi could leave, even on loan, in current transfer window, Lampard said: “I’m going to skirt around that question; it remains to be seen.”

“My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club but after that of course, the individual conversations will happen within that,” he added.

“I will try and make sure I go into the season, once the window shuts, with the squad that I feel is healthy and competitive in a healthy way.”

AFP

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.”

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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.

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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