Despite a frustrating first half when we couldn’t turn our possession into a lead, Frank Lampard was particularly pleased with the way his team upped the tempo after the break to secure victory over stubborn opponents.
We looked comfortable throughout our 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, but had to be patient for our breakthrough before Abraham and Pulisic both found the net in the second half.
So what did Lampard think made the difference after half-time?
‘Every game in the Premier League is hard, particularly against a team as well organised as Palace are,’ he said.
‘The first half, we started really well, a goal probably would have put us in a really good position, but we didn’t get it. We allowed the tempo to drop slightly towards the end of the first half.
‘But we came out for the second half with the intent we did and the extra 10 per cent of urgency in our game. I wouldn’t say we won the game comfortably, but 2-0 is relatively comfortable. It could have probably been more with a bit more end product, but it was a nice solid win with a clean sheet.’
James made his first Premier League start
‘Reece was fantastic against one of the best wingers in the league one v one, Zaha is a real threat, especially on the counter-attack. Reece dealt with most of those situations and he also joined in on the attack.
‘You can see how comfortable he is with the ball at his feet and his delivery and passing. I was pleased and I trust in Reece.
‘Out of all the younger players who have been getting their chance this year, he’s had his injury earlier in the season and has got fit that little bit later, but he’s been training at a level and coming on at a level where he deserved minutes today. So he did brilliantly.’
Abraham and Pulisic were on the scoresheet again
‘Some games as a striker in the Premier League will frustrate you because good defenders won’t give you much space, so there’s a problem for Tammy to solve. For any top striker we expect them to provide everything, goals, hold-up, and it’s not always possible.
‘Then you need to keep trying, keep running, and he did and gets his goal very clinically. So a great game from Tammy, even if it won’t be his best game on the showreel.
‘Christian came from another league, didn’t really have a great break. He played some games early on and the pace of the Premier League is tough for any player, that’s been proven time and time again.
‘With Christian, I always believed that he had huge talent and was going to be a big player for us and he’s absolutely showing that. He was first-class today, as he has been recently with his energy, movement off the ball, slipping past people, working off the ball and his quality, and getting in areas again to score in and around the six-yard box, which I think is a huge thing for any wide player.
‘The only frustration is he comes off with a bit of an injury. He was going to be subbed before he scored his goal, he’s got a bit of a hip issue, but I’m hoping it’s not too bad because the way he’s in full flow at the moment is great to see.'