Interview

Michy Batshuayi talks Frank Lampard and Christian Pulisic ahead of Crystal Palace reunion

Michy Batshauyi has revealed he has been developing different sides of his game under Frank Lampard, and, ahead of today’s meeting with his former club Crystal Palace, the striker has also discussed his friendship with Christian Pulisic.

Batshuayi spent the second half of last season on loan at Selhurst Park, scoring six goals in 13 appearances and helping the Eagles finish the campaign strongly.

He returned to Chelsea in pre-season and impressed, earning a spot in Lampard’s squad. He already has five goals to his name, including a famous late winner in Amsterdam, and even though he has largely featured off the bench so far, Batshuayi is enjoying life under Lampard.

‘He has been very involved, and put a lot of work in,’ said the 26-year-old.

‘He emphasises the defensive work and the physical work a lot, which has been very interesting for me.

‘He’s a very simple guy. He doesn’t speak a lot. Sometimes when he wants to have a laugh he tells jokes, but he knows when he needs to be focused and when he wants to relax.

‘I don’t think it’s a surprise we are fourth,’ added Batshuayi.

‘It’s obvious there is a lot of quality in the group, a lot of good players, so we are where we deserve to be.’

Batshauyi’s first league goal of the campaign, at Southampton, stemmed from a fine Christian Pulisic pass, and the pair’s celebration that followed suggested it was not the first time they had been in sync on a football pitch.

‘We decided we had to do something when we scored or we did an assist for the other – it took us about two minutes to come up with!

‘I know Christian from Borussia Dortmund. We always stayed in touch and then he came here. He is a very good person, very simple, he works a lot, and when he plays, assists or scores I am very happy for him, as he is for me too.’

Today’s opponents visit the Bridge in good form away from home, a mantle Palace have held for the duration of 2019 as proven by Batshuayi’s five away league games for them, which yielded four wins and three goals for the striker. A first reunion provides him with the perfect opportunity to reflect on his time in south London working with Roy Hodgson.

‘As everybody knows I spent a few months at Crystal Palace. I learned a lot off the coach who has strong beliefs, and who had the words to encourage his players in difficult moments and easier ones.

‘I met a lot of new people who are friends and I have stayed in contact with. Overall it was a very good experience.’

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