Frank Lampard praised his team and a couple of individuals in particular following another impressive Chelsea performance in the win over Southampton, although the boss also recognised areas where his players can improve.
Today’s 4-1 victory at St Mary’s follows excellent wins on the road at Norwich, Wolves and Lille, with another dynamic attacking display doing the damage.
In his analysis of the match, Lampard noted quality and character as being key to the final outcome, which provides a welcome boost ahead of the pause for international football.
‘I don’t think we started that great,’ admitted Lampard.
‘But what pleases you is when players stand up and have moments that give you control of the game. Tammy’s goal was incredible, to get the purchase and contact on the ball.
‘Then Mason stepped up. In the second half we got over a couple of sloppy moments that seeped into the game which we need to look at it. We can’t do that; we can’t offer up opportunities. But other than we were comfortable, managed the game well and saw it through.
‘I’m pleased. The last international break we went in to after dropping two points against Sheffield United. Today was the opposite.
‘We’re in good form. Our short-term form is good, and I wanted to finish strong. That was the team talk to the players. It was a relatively comfortable afternoon in the end at a tough place to come if you’re not at it.’
Lampard spoke further about Abraham, who scored again in the week he got an England recall and celebrated his birthday
‘When people are in good form, things happen for them. It comes from how Tammy has handled himself all season, from pre-season, from early season when people were questioning him in different ways, and the work ethic behind the scenes that gets him in such good nick.
‘He’s not just an incredible handful for defenders, with his running, holding the ball up and good feet; he’s getting the goals which is brilliant for him.
‘I trusted in Tammy at the start of the season. I felt it was his time to come back to Chelsea. He also has Oli Giroud, a World Cup winner, and Michy Batshuayi, a top-class Premier League striker, and he has made the position his own in the short term.
‘He has to keep that going because competition is key. Over the course of the season we will need everybody, but he deserves the great week he has had and the great season he is having. I’ll keep on him because I want more.’
Lampard reported there was nothing to be worried about when Abraham hobbled off late on
‘He’s fine. He took a bang on the back of the knee, but I think he wanted a round of applause!’
Lampard pinpointed where we can improve
‘The fact we allowed someone to stroll into our box to make it 2-1. We switched off from the throw-in, which we had talked about, and then we offered them up a chance at the end of the first half which would’ve made half-time much nervier than what it was.
‘To be fair there will be a lot of weeks I will sit here and say the boys at the back have been brilliant - and they have recently – but you can’t afford to give little moments. Those are pointers for all of us that we are not there, we are nowhere near the finished article at the minute.
‘When you see the little negative things, it means you have standards where you are trying to get to. The players should feel that. It can be a positive, as long as you win! Coming away 4-1, it’s easy to not analyse those little negatives because they can get glossed over. It’s important they don’t because they are the percentage part we can improve.’
Callum Hudson-Odoi made his first league start of the season
‘He did well. It was a great assist for Tammy’s goal, a great ball. His work-rate was good, he stayed tight to the midfield and released himself to the full-back. It was all the things I want from the wingers. He could have got a goal, he got in behind a few times where he can be lethal. That’s where I want him.
‘He can get better. He has had a serious injury so fitness has been a bit of an issue, and looking after him. Now he’s showing he’s getting towards proper match fitness.’
Lampard assessed the mix of youth and experience in his team and picked out one player for special praise
‘The balance at the moment is good. It’s nice for me, it’s great to coach because the young players want to improve all the time, but you have to mention the experienced players around them.
‘Willian was the standout today, without a doubt. If you wanted to show our wingers what we want from them, we would show them a video of his work ethic today, and his quality and burst of pace on the ball.
‘In the last four or five games he has been our best player. It’s a great thing to say when you have got players who are examples on the pitch around these young boys.’
Ahead of the international break, Lampard gave his opinion on our current standing
‘We’re a few points short of where we should be on performance. There are games we should have gained more points from, and that’s on us. But I’m pretty happy that we’re in and around the group behind Liverpool. At this early stage we’re in a nice position.
‘It should give us determination to go away and come back in the same vein. The minute you relax in this league it can all change very quickly. The reason we are playing well is because of how hard we’re working, and how together we are. If we can keep going with that we will be challenging right up there I hope.’
Lampard also commented on a discriminatory chant from the away end
‘I watched the game on TV yesterday where I heard similar stuff from other clubs. None of us want it. I will always back the Chelsea fans in terms of how they support us, but we don’t want to chant stuff that is discriminatory to anybody or anyone.
‘It’s a wider problem than just Chelsea, without a doubt, but it shouldn’t stop us talking about it.’