He may have inherited a Chelsea squad which had lost a four-time Player of the Year winner in the summer, but Frank Lampard believes he has plenty of attacking talents who are sharing the load in terms of goals and assists.
The latest headline-grabbing contribution this season came from Christian Pulisic at Burnley on Saturday evening, as the American became our youngest Premier League hat-trick scorer to help see off the Clarets at Turf Moor.
Many wondered how the Blues would cope following the loss of Hazard to Real Madrid back in June, considering the Belgian had played such a considerable role in our success over the past seven years, but it seems the old proverb of many hands making light work is working out nicely for Lampard.
Nine of our Premier League goals this term have been scored by players who nominally feature as attacking midfielders and when you add eight assists from that group, it’s clear the load is being shared among several players.
‘I felt we have options and people have talked about transitions, and obviously there is when you lose a player as impactful as Eden, who scored or created nearly 50 per cent of our goals last year,’ said Lampard.
‘You have to accept that and look for where else in the team can we come up with that sort of end product. We have the players to do it. We have attacking players who want to score goals, a team which wants to move the ball quickly and get the ball into wide areas sometimes. We want to be able to cross it, to play through teams, and as a collective we’re scoring goals. We have to continue in that vein.
‘Everyone wants an Eden Hazard in the team, don’t get me wrong, but we haven’t and it was what was in front of me. We’ve got good players and it’s important we try and be an attacking force. The Chelsea fans who travelled up to Burnley want to see a team that’s trying to play attacking football and it’s the way I want us to play.
‘Of course, we have to worry about how we defend, but I want us to defend up the pitch if we can. I want us to move the ball really quickly with a view to creating chances and the players are doing that. We work hard on it daily in training, it doesn’t come easily.’
That last point is perhaps the most relevant to the message Lampard is trying to get across. With the club currently on a run of seven wins on the bounce in all competitions, surging up the league and imposing ourselves on our Champions League group, expectation increases.
As far as our head coach is concerned, there is obviously plenty to be happy about, but the most important thing is to continue putting in the hard yards behind the scenes in order to continue reaping the rewards.
‘We had a tough start, but I believed in the group and I believe in them daily – I’m just really pleased where we’ve got to,’ he added. ‘We’re working hard, but we have to be aware we can improve and if we get overconfident in this moment and start making crazy expectations on ourselves from within – let everyone else talk. From within, it’s game by game and how we can get better day by day. At the minute we have that feeling and it’s my job to keep that going.’