Lampard will have quite a few reasons to be pleased with Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup victory against Championship side Barnsley. Any win should be celebrated, let alone one that sees Chelsea put six past our opponents.
But this match was also (and primarily) aimed at getting the players ramped up for the long season ahead. Without an extensive preseason to work on fitness and tactics, Lampard looked at this match to get those available more up to speed.
“It was a very good night in those terms because my concerns were before the game that I wanted it to be a training exercise. I wasn’t disrespecting the game because I knew it would be a tough game. Barnsley are very good and we want to do well in this competition. But the phase we are in now I wanted to see how good we could be off the ball, last we were fantastic in large parts of the season in winning the ball back and having high pressure.
“We haven’t found that just yet because of fitness and with the new shape of the team. Today we started to see elements of that back in our game. Then I had a big concern about how we were on the ball because we haven’t been so smooth as we can be in the first two games for different reasons. We saw elements of that in the game. And then all the individuals and the minutes and the fitness and the combinations of the team started to show tonight. So it became a very positive night in the end.”
The nature of the event was most evident in the debut for Thiago Silva, our expected new defensive leader, who was limited to 60 minutes after just a week of training with the team.
Silva’s last competitive actio and a month after . , was meant to be more of a training exercise, as Lampard had noted. He only started training with the first team a little over a week ago, so the match was seen to be a bit of a training exercise for the 36 year-old, one day after his birthday.
Despite an individual error in the early stages of the match, Thiago Silva had a relatively solid outing in what was his first bit of competitive action since the Champions League final exactly one month prior. Lampard will have good reason to be pleased with his performance.
Thiago Silva's Chelsea debut by numbers:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 23, 2020
100% aerial duels won (1/1)
100% tackle success (1/1)
94% pass accuracy (64/68)
0 goals conceded
Nearly perfect. pic.twitter.com/TJnSAPEQar
Moreover, Lampard will likely be thrilled with the leadership displayed on the field. Despite not being fluent in English (he’s learning!), Silva commanded the backline and motioned where players should set up for the defensive phases.
“Yes, it is exciting for us because he has had just over a week training with us. It was a perfect 60 minutes for him tonight. He will show the qualities he has. Of course, he will get fitter and better. He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others.”
“He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Up next for Chelsea in the Carabao Cup will be either Tottenham Hotspur or Leyton Orient next Tuesday. Unofficial word yesterday had Tottenham advancing due to positive COVID-19 tests for a number of Leyton Orient players (and absolutely no room in the schedule). Officially, that match is only postponed, with further details yet to be decided.