In his press conference this morning ahead of the Boxing Day meeting with Southampton, Frank Lampard provided an injury update, discussed his use of the 3-4-3 formation and underlined the importance of sticking by his young players.
It was an earlier than usual start on Christmas Eve at Cobham for Lampard, giving the journalists present extra time to get home to their families. For the boss and his players it is very much busy as usual in the coming days, with nine precious Premier League points up for grabs between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
‘As footballers we have a lot of benefits in this life, and this is one of the periods where you have to sacrifice a bit of family time,’ said Lampard.
‘The lads will train this morning, the lads will train tomorrow morning and we’ll be in a hotel in an evening before the match, and prepare as we would do.
‘The points on offer over this busy period when they come thick and fast are important to us, we know that, so we’ll do everything right in our preparation.
‘We need to, particularly on the back of the few games before Tottenham, show another side to our game. Can we get our home form where we want it to be against Southampton?’
Lampard reported the latest injury news
‘Azpilicueta had a small issue at the end of the game, hence he came off when he never comes off. We need to check that one this morning.
‘Other than that, we’re pretty much where we are, but there were some bumps and bruises so there’s nothing clear. We’ll see.’
The boss considered the possibility of retaining a 3-4-3 shape on Boxing Day
‘We’ve played it a few times, and we’ve gone to it in games. It can work. The reason we played it against Tottenham was because we had a good look at Tottenham and how they play, and I thought it was the best way for us to play.
‘I spoke to the staff a lot last week, we worked in training a lot last week, and it did work. It’s certainly something we can use and we can see how we go going forward.’
Lampard was asked if the win at Tottenham was our best performance of the season
‘I think it was. The Ajax away game was a different type of game that we dealt with brilliantly on the night. Going to Tottenham in good form, direct rival, ourselves under slight pressure because of recent form, the character, the strength, the fight in the team on top of the way we approached the game and controlled it from start to finish, makes it our best performance.’
According to Lampard, wins like the one at Tottenham not only benefit the young players’ development, but also show why they are worth standing by during tougher times
‘I hope the win helps the whole squad, and the younger players in particular. Some were in the Championship last year, some are getting new tests they’ve never had before this season, but some have been here before, beaten top-six teams and won championships over the years.
‘There is a little bit of a mixture, but as a group we are quite fresh and a little bit transitional this year, and hopefully it sends a little statement to ourselves. I don’t mind how everyone outside reacts about it, but for ourselves it should give us confidence. I wasn’t of the belief they couldn’t give a reaction. I believe in these players, and the young players.
‘Mason Mount’s performance, not just to isolate Mason because Tammy and Tomori were fantastic, but his performance against Tottenham was a great example of why you want to stick with and have patience with these young players,’ added Lampard.
‘He’s a young boy, there will be moments when a game will be difficult for him, and he’ll learn in the next one and better, and there will be games like the one on Sunday where you see the player he is.
‘If we’re not patient and we don’t stick with the players then you might be in a situation where we have been before, where top world-class players have been at Chelsea when they were 20 or 21, but the managers maybe didn’t stick with them so much then. I’m in a position where I’m going to stick with them.’