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Lampard reflects on VAR, Kovačić’s first goal, Abraham’s injury, Kepa's ... goal-kepa-ing

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Much to say after tonights thrilling draw against Valencia

Valencia CF v Chelsea FC: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Tonight’s thrilling draw against Valencia away at the Mestalla produced another moment where VAR took center stage. The season is still roughly four months young, but Chelsea and VAR have quite the strained relationship already. If Facebook was still relevant in 2019, Chelsea’s status with VAR would be listed as: “It’s Complicated.”

“I don’t think the delay is the problem. The problem in the Premier League has been whether the decision was right or wrong even after the delay and that’s where I think we’re not getting it right.

We’ve had a few this season in our games and that’s where VAR needs to improve. We want to keep that time down, but if you get the right decision I don’t think there are too many complaints.”

Mateo Kovačić had gone 122 matches without a goal. Since arriving from Real Madrid on loan in the summer of 2018, he had yet to find the back of the net for Chelsea.

Kovačić has been rightly heralded for his recent string of strong performances in midfield. Tonight seemed business as usual until his hard work was rewarded with a goal that finally ended his goalless streak.

“We’ve had a lot of jokes between me and him and the whole squad and him because he’s a player of such quality that should score more goals.

It’s a project for me, for him and the whole staff to get him more goals and he could have scored two today. I’m delighted for him and I hope that’s the start of something new.”

Just as we have witnessed an evolution to N’golo Kanté’s game, with a greater impetus to join the attack, hopefully we see a similar change to Kovačić’s game.

While Kovačić scoring his first goal will clearly be seen as a positive from this match, Tammy Abraham’s substitution at half time due to injury will clearly be seen with worry. He landed awkwardly just moments before the first half had concluded following an aerial challenge.

Asked about whether Abraham had left to go to the hospital, Lampard intimated that Abraham’s injury may not be too bad.

“I’m not sure if that’s true, but he’s in the dressing room now. The word at half time was it looked quite severe, a bang on the hip. Then the word after the game was it might not be as severe as we first thought. That’s as much details as I have.”

Kepa’s performance today will be seen with positives and negatives to take away, much like the team performance overall. He had produced quite a few moments of goalkeeping brilliance, including the penalty save to keep the match in Chelsea’s favor.

However, much will be discussed about Kepa’s positioning and performance on Valencia’s Danial Wass’ cross/goal to level the game in the 82nd minute.

“It was certainly a fluke. He didn’t mean to score and that makes it more difficult for the goalkeeper because they don’t expect to go off the far top corner.

The cross came in too high for him. I know there might be the feeling he pulled his hands away, I’m not sure he would have got there anyway.

I will have to look at it again and Kepa will be the best one because he’s very honest with himself and if he feels he could have got it then I’m sure he would say that.

But we can’t look away from the penalty save. It wasn’t just a standard penalty save, it was a fantastic one and that’s what top keepers do to save you points.”

- Frank Lampard; Source: Football.London