Frank Lampard admitted he was pleased with his squad’s clean sheet (and goalless draw) against Sevilla in Chelsea’s Champions League opener tonight. After a mounting criticism on his team’s defensive capabilities, Lampard is comforted with the concentration and focus from his players.
“Yes, I was pleased with that professional element to it after I spoke to the players about game management. I did say it the other day with where we are there’s new players coming in and trying to feel the way that we want to play. I feel, when you are playing in real-time without much time to train, that the Southampton game was a hit to us. I thought today was a really positive one as Sevilla are a top team in European football, there’s no doubt about it.”
“The concentration and focus you need to get a result, to get a clean sheet tonight, was big for the team. The decisions they made when they defended well, the decisions to play longer rather than keep possession, the decisions were good tonight so it is a really nice place to build from.”
Chelsea’s draw with Sevilla keeps the club at pace with the other expected strong side in our Champions League group. Elsewhere, Rennes and Krasnodor drew 1-1, leaving all four clubs level in the group at a point a piece.
The match itself was not pretty, by any expected attacking standards. The balance of play seemed fairly even throughout, with both sides trading off slogs of momentum from each other.
Chelsea did well to escape Sevilla’s well drilled pressing, however there were a few moments where Sevilla looked to capitalize on undue individual errors from Chelsea’s backline.
“They play a physical way, a distinct style which made them hard to press and we matched them. I feel the two teams slightly worked each other out. It was an interesting game, a good game to manage and I am happy with the 0-0. I am pleased with the side for getting a clean sheet which was a big deal for us tonight.”
xG map for Chelsea - Sevilla— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) October 20, 2020
lol this game was so bad pic.twitter.com/IbTdyKLMFL
Having faced defeat after the first match in last year’s edition, Lampard expressed some comfort to leave the match with a point. Responding to positive pre-match remarks from Sevilla’s manager, Julen Lopetegui, Lampard framed his Champions League expectations.
“They are a quality team. Can Sevilla win the tournament? Yes they can, there are a lot of teams who can win it. For us, I am not jumping down the line, I am just looking at us now, we are early in our season, we’re a few games in and we are going to get better. The clean sheet today was a nice side for us about how we are working and the personnel we had today, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. We are going step by step at the minute.”
Overall, key takeaways from Lampard tonight is the importance of the clean sheet, and the team’s ability to see out quality opposition. Of course, for a team that finally fielded it’s six new summer transfers for the first time, it will take time for Lampard to see his squad fully synchronize with each other.
A welcome addition to tonight’s match squad is Thiago Silva, who played in his first match back from international football.
“I thought he was very good today. I spoke about quality and experience before the game and he brought both of those and it affects others around him, which I think he did. He was a big plus in terms of getting the clean sheet. Over the season, I will manage him and I have a very close relationship with him already even if he uses a translator. I will always work closely with him and I remember being in the same position myself towards the end of my career, in the last year in the Premier League. So I will be very aware of maintenance training and his selection as we want him to play as many games as we can to be at his optimum level.”
- Frank Lampard, Source: Football.London
Onwards and upwards! Tonight marks the first goalless draw in Lampard’s tenure overseeing Chelsea. It won’t always be pretty. At least it is not a loss of three points!