Olivier Giroud believes progress is being made under Frank Lampard as pre-season preparations step up a notch in Japan.
The Frenchman featured for the second half in our most recent outing against Kawasaki Frontale, where the Blues faced a competitive contest against the current J-League champions in the heat and humidity of Yokohama.
A late goal condemned us to defeat but Giroud reflected on a great physical effort from the team, an exertion that will be sure to stand us in good stead in the months ahead.
‘I came here two years ago with my previous club and it was the same – very humid, very warm and not easy to play,’ said Giroud, speaking after the game. ‘Our opponents play like that for two or three months of the season but I don’t know how they do it!
‘When it’s pre-season, it’s already hard but when it’s hot and humid like that then it’s very difficult even to make two runs in a row. They played a good game with a lot of ability. You could see their determination because they don’t play a Premier League club every week. We had chances, they had some as well, but they were more efficient so they won the game.
‘If we look at our performance physically, I think all the players have done well. Our fitness at this stage is not perfect obviously but we are working hard in training to get better.’
The 32-year old signed a new Chelsea contract in May to extend his stay in west London for another season and he is looking forward to working under our new head coach. Plenty of emphasis has already been placed on fitness work in training, with Lampard keen for his new side to play a high-intensity game with and without the ball.
Giroud acknowledges some adaptation to the new methods will be required, as well as familiarisation with new team-mates, but he is sure that Lampard’s approach and indomitable winning mentality will bring success to Stamford Bridge.
‘It seems very clear that he wants the best from us,’ the striker continued. ‘He wants to help us improve and he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve. He’s a competitor, he wants to win every single game.
‘We’re working on the tactics when we don’t have the ball and playing this 4-2-3-1 we have to know each other a bit better as well. This was the first time I’ve played with Christian [Pulisic], with Mason [Mount] and with Kenedy so obviously it will take time but we feel good. We believe in the gaffer because he’s the right man for this situation.
‘He repeats every day that we have to take responsibility and we have to show personality. He’s insisting a lot on this kind of stuff, playing without fear but with confidence. I think we will learn quickly.’
The Blues are back in pre-season action on Tuesday when they take on Barcelona in Saitama. The match can be watched via a live stream on this website or on our 5th Stand app.