The third of four successive home games takes place tomorrow evening when we host League Two Grimsby Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup. Frank Lampard looks ahead to the tie…
Following on from games in the Champions League and the Premier League, the start of domestic cup action brings a new challenge but despite defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, there has been plenty of good reaction to the way the Blues performed against the league leaders, and Lampard begins by further reflecting on that game two days further on.
‘I thought it was a good really performance,’ he begins, ‘particularly in the second half against what we know are a really strong side. We gave them a lot of problems with some good individual performances within that.
‘Probably the biggest thing for me was the character of the team, the fight shown towards the end plus there were things within the second half which we have been working towards doing. Some things take a bit of time with a new manager and new ideas but I saw a lot of signs of us switching the play and being a bit quicker in moving the ball. That is something I think fans appreciate, when the ball is moving a lot and quickly, with switches and crosses, making opportunities within the box. Against Liverpool that is not easy and we did it.
‘Chelsea fans are smart in terms of football,’ he adds. ‘The older fans have seen a lot and those from the more modern era have seen a lot with different managers and different styles, but they are certainly now in a position where I think they are really behind us in terms of where we are at.
‘That is a club with a ban that has lost Eden and two strikers from what we had last year in terms of Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain. Now we have younger players who I think the fans are very ready to be patient with. And they will need to be, but at the same time the rules always remain the same, if you show passion and fight and desire to play for the club, as we showed, then fans will respect that whether you win, lose or draw.
‘That is why the performance was appreciated and when you lose, sometimes that is when you need it even more. It is that feeling of togetherness and now the players must take that on and show that every week. The same desires, the same passion, keep improving all the time and move forward.
‘Of course we want to be consistent,’ he continues. ‘When you have some youth in the team, that is always something that can improve but also fans want to see good football and sometimes the result does not always reflect that, due to misfortune, due to VAR, due to the other team being so strong.
‘The onus is on us to take it forward, because I don’t want to talk too much without referencing the fact we lost the game against Liverpool. We want more wins and that is the responsibility on us going forward now.’
Christensen and Emerson injury news
During Sunday’s game we lost Andreas Christensen to a knee problem and Emerson Palmieri to a thigh injury. Lampard gives an update on their condition.
‘Andreas is not too severe. Hopefully he won’t be out for too long but I can’t give a timeframe. Emerson now won’t be back until the other side of the international break [which is during mid-October]. It will be a few weeks because it is the reoccurrence of an injury so we have to be a bit careful with it.’
Two players who will be involved tomorrow are two back from injury – Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James. It will be a Chelsea debut for James who won Wigan’s Player of the Year by a landslide when out on loan last campaign.
‘He can play in different positions,’ details Lampard. ‘His favourite position is right-back or right wing-back and he played there a lot in our successful youth teams. He can also play in holding midfield as he showed at Wigan. He is strong, has really good quality on the ball in terms of the delivery he can put in from the sides. He is good in the tackle as he is a powerful boy. I was really impressed with him as a young player before he went to Wigan and also from how he responded to the Championship, so it is up to him now to try to make an impact on the squad here.’
Competing in the Carabao Cup
Lampard knows from his own experience how important this competition can be in a player’s career and how success in it can crystallise a team and make it ready for further triumphs. It was the first trophy he won at Chelsea, the start of a historic period for the club.
‘It will be an opportunity to blood young players in this game and it is a competition we want to be competitive in,’ he says. ‘It does give a good feeling. I saw Chelsea get to the final last year and beat Tottenham in the semi. I saw how Stamford Bridge was celebrating that, and the team was slightly unlucky to lose to Man City in the final. We will try to be competitive and at the same time as giving the youngsters a go, we will try to win, as a club like Chelsea should always do.
‘I have nice memories of the two finals I won. It is a competition that is difficult to win but we have to give it everything.’
The right approach
Stamford Bridge will have a full house for tomorrow evening’s game with Grimsby bringing a large following. Chelsea had a good record of negotiating ties against lower division opposition during Lampard’s playing days and he understands that attitude is key.
‘We appreciate the game being sold out and that is why the players must give their maximum. The fans will be there to support us and we must give them a spectacle to enjoy. The young players who are involved on the night plus players who are not so young but pushing for regular starts have a nice pressure so hopefully the fans will see a team that is really firing.
‘What is crucial is the mentality of how you approach the match. You have to be absolutely professional, with a desire to win the game and a respect for the opponent. Grimsby are bringing a lot of fans. It is a huge game for them and rightly so and we have to respect that completely and get our end right, which is firstly how we prepare for the game and then how we approach it, and that is what we will do.’