Three games, three competitions, three wins for Frank Lampard. Some things appear to be coming together quite well as Chelsea’s youth revolution rumbles on. It’s still far from perfect of course, and one should not expect it to be anywhere close just yet. It’s, as ever, a work in progress, in growth, in development. But we’re improving, and we’re winning, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
Except when it comes to set pieces. Those continue to be a problem, as Frank Lampard admitted after Wednesday night’s important 2-1 win over Lille.
“Our performance was really good. We controlled a lot of the early periods of the game, we got our goal. Set-pieces are a problem for us and we have to keep working on that even more. But the way we played, the chances we created away from home, the possession we had of the ball, meant we deserved to win.”
I do wish we’d stop using words like “deserve” in sports. You deserve what you get. You deserve what you earn. We earned that win. We created more, we had more possession, we made more defensive plays, we earned the win. Lampard’s starting lineup and in-game tactical changes were on point. The Academy youth stepped up again — Abraham, Tomori, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, James — and the oldies did so as well — Willian with the winning goal; Kanté and Jorginho controlling the middle, Azpilicueta helping to hold down the fort in the back-three.
We made it look easy, and other than set pieces and Tomori and Kepa combining for a couple weird errors towards the end, we made it look easy. And that’s credit to all involved.
“There is a long way to go in the group but having lost against Valencia it put more importance on this game. It’s such a tough place to come, anyone in the stadium would have felt that. The roof was on, the crowd were up for it, the speed in their team in a counter-attacking sense was very evident, something we had to be ready for.
“[The] Academy are getting the recognition they deserve for the work they’ve done. The fans are loving it, the club are loving it and the players are responding. But this isn’t a game for niceties, we have to go and win these matches and improve all the time. There were loads of signs of team improvement, and individuals. [The] young players are responding, and they have to keep doing that because this Champions League level is something else. They did well tonight and they can do even better.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Lampard praised Reece James and Tammy Abraham individually, but the work doesn’t stop, the improvement doesn’t end. Other players are hungry for minutes and they will push the current starters. It’s three wins on the bounce; let’s make it four on Sunday.