LAMPARD: LICENSE TO THRILL
Fresh from his brace on Saturday, Frank Lampard has been speaking about his position on the pitch and the highly competitive nature of this season's Barclays Premier League.
A change of formation and the return of John Mikel Obi to the starting 11 at Upton Park gave our all-time record goalscorer the freedom to constantly threaten in the final third, with a first goal from open play in the league this season duly arriving in the second half, adding to the penalty he had already converted. It was an opportunity he clearly relished.
'I do love getting forward and I appreciate it when the manager does give me that license,' Lampard said. 'I just play where the manager tells me to. We've got a lot of attacking talent in the team and the manager has got to try and get the best out of that.
'I'm playing pretty regularly at the minute and I feel fit and strong. I want to show that I am good enough to carry on playing and I'll try to do that. I don't want to be a passenger sitting on the bench not doing much, even in my older years.
'As you get older you adapt your game and you probably don't bomb up and down as much as you always did, but you can use your experience, and whether you're deeper or not if you've got a little bit of license to get forward then you can do at the right times.'
Saturday's victory against West Ham leaves us in third position in the table, four points off pacesetters Arsenal and two points ahead of this season's surprise package Southampton, our next Premier League opponents. Lampard has been considering the depth of quality in England's top flight this season.
'We've been pretty good. No-one's caught fire, maybe Arsenal have and we're in touching distance of them still. We are in a position where we want to improve, we want to be challenging to win the league and I think we're in a good spot to do that,' said Lampard.
'When Jose was first here we were five or 10 points clear at certain times but it's a different league now. There's a lot more competition so you can't walk away with it but we're right in there with a shout.
'Saturday's win was how we want to play. That's the benchmark. I think there's room for improvement with us and we will do that because we're aspiring every day to improve. As long as we do that and show performances like the one on Saturday then we will do well.'