Chelsea secured three points in southern Russia tonight against Krasnodar, finishing the match with four quality goals despite a rather cagey affair. Frank Lampard spoke to the press after the match and heralded praise towards his two starting wide men.
The match marked Hakim Ziyech’s first start for Chelsea, since signing with the club
a lifetime ago back in February. He would have featured sooner, had he not succumbed to a knee injury in Chelsea’s only preseason match.
Fitness, of course, has been a key focus for Lampard to manage this season, especially with the condensed schedule. Lampard had expressed eagerness to get Ziyech out there, and the 27-year-old’s performance tonight proved just why.
“Hakim Ziyech was fit today, the first time he’s really been fit to start a game. He has worked really hard to be fit and I was very keen to get his quality into the team. We saw that for the whole period he was on the pitch. He brought a lot of quality and calmness and got a well deserved goal.
“I thought his performance was very very good when you consider he hasn’t started a match since March when the Dutch league finished. So I have been very excited to get him on the pitch so it has been frustration for me and for him and us that his injury hasn’t allowed him to start.
“But what I have seen in training so far and what I knew we were signing as a player was a player with immense quality and personality to receive the ball, assists and find goals. We saw a lot of glimpses of that today. We brought him in to do a job and maybe people have forgotten a bit because we signed him in January and he missed the start of the season. Tonight, he certainly showed he is here.”
Hakim Ziyech's game by numbers vs. Krasnodar:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 28, 2020
◉ 87% pass accuracy
◉ 57 touches
◉ 11 total duels
◉ 7 recoveries
◉ 5 shots
◉ 4 shots on target
◉ 2 tackles
◉ 1 chance created
◉ 1 goal https://t.co/4N45cmQva8
Another start we’ve been waiting for about a month now, though for different reasons, has been Callum Hudson-Odoi’s, and he repaid the manager’s faith by getting Chelsea’s first goal of the evening. Hudson-Odoi’s last start was against Crystal Palace in early October. The final result that day? Also 4-0 to Chelsea. Perhaps there is a theme here with Hudson-Odoi featuring for the club.
Either way, Lampard believes this will do a world of good for the promising youngster’s confidence.
“With Callum on the left I felt he deserved a chance to play. He’s trained very well recently, we have competition in those areas and we’re also in the middle of a very busy patch of games so we need input from all the attacking players. We felt that today with Callum getting his goal, Hakim and Christian coming on for his goal. I was very pleased with those parts of our game.
“The goal is clearly going to be good for his confidence. There were things I liked in his game today. His desire to run in behind the defence. Sometimes one v one, it didn’t go his way but I’m very pleased that when you play in the Champions League and get your goal. I know the feeling of confidence it can give him.”
With all that said, Lampard had good reason to be pleased with the performances of his two starting wide men for evening. Both played a big role in securing victory, and each bagged a goal, on either side of a Timo Werner second-half penalty.
Perhaps one last notable item pertaining Hudson-Odoi is a potential injury he may have picked up during the match. Cameras panned to Hudson-Odoi having ice wrapped around his left leg while on the bench after his substitution.
“In terms of his injury, it hasn’t been flagged to me after the match that there is a problem so I assume and hope there is nothing wrong. I’m just pleased he had a good evening.”
-Frank Lampard, source: Football.London
Hopefully any injury, if present, is not serious. Emerging from the long trip to Krasnodar with three points and a healthy squad is the best case scenario!