One of the many challenges facing Frank Lampard this season at Chelsea is to change the feeling, the vibes at the club. Despite last year’s European trophy, the atmosphere had become negative, even toxic, around the stadium and online — not to mention the media coverage and fan response — and all that does have an affect on the football and the results on the pitch.
That’s not to say that Lampard will be selling falsehoods or operating in the bubble of delusion, but he might just follow through on his predecessor’s promise of “fun” a bit better. Veteran striker Olivier Giroud, who’s certainly seen a few things during his long career, appreciates the confidence-inspiring moves from the new boss.
“He always tries to be very positive. He won’t be too tough with us when we are not doing too well, but he also won’t put us ‘over the moon’ when we are playing well. He is always trying to analyse well the situation.
“He said he was proud of our performance [on Wednesday] and it is tough to lose like we did, on pens, but we have to keep our head up.”
“The most important thing [against Liverpool] was to keep the confidence high, have personality to play with freedom and clearly we did that. We were very strong and we can build good things from that for the future.”
Despite the two defeats so far, the positives shown against Manchester United and Liverpool give hope for a good season ahead for Chelsea — if we are able to keep this level of play up along the way.
Replacing someone like Eden Hazard and his 31 direct goal contributions (16g+15a) will not be easy of course, if even possible, but Giroud remains confident in the squad’s quality — and it’s only going to get better once Callum Hudson-Odoi returns (he’s close!) and new signing Christian Pulisic comes up to speed.
“This squad is still very strong in terms of both quality and quantity. So I have no worries and I think we have a superb mentality.
“We are all pointing in the same direction, with the same targets and I’m pretty sure we can do good things and challenge for trophies. We have good hope to look forward, and winning our first home game of the season would be very important for us.”
Giroud’s equally confident when it comes to his own contributions. He lead all players in the Europa League in goalscoring as Chelsea went on to lift the trophy in Baku, including a goal in the final against former team Arsenal. And while he was not too happy with his lack of playing time in the Premier League, he feels he can deliver similar numbers at the domestic level as well. All he needs is a chance.
“The media always ask me this and obviously I had more games in the Europa League last season. If I have the opportunities on the pitch, whatever the competition, I have belief in myself to score goals. The Europa League was my main competition last season and I always tried to bring something to the pitch, just as I did when I played in the Premier League.
“I feel very good at Chelsea and I have high expectations for this season because we have a very talented squad.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Chelsea FC
Giroud started on Wednesday and duly collected yet another goal in European competition. He may be behind young Tammy Abraham at the moment in terms of Premier League starts, but his veteran presence and proven quality will be a useful and reliable option for us this season and perhaps even beyond.