With all four goals in the weekend 2-2 draw against Leicester City coming in the second half, one of the less-discussed performances in the game was the one in the opening 45 minutes from Reece James, who looked a constant threat from right-back and delivered a number of teasing crosses which on another day may have bagged him a couple of assists.
After the game, his manager Frank Lampard pointed out such form is nothing new from the player who was back after a small injury meant he missed the recent games against Arsenal and Hull and added:
‘Reece is a weapon for us in attack with his crossing – we need to get on the end of them more – but he is also very solid defensively. When you think of his age, you can get excited about Reece. There’s a lot more he can do, obviously, but I’m really pleased with how he’s developing at the minute.
‘There’s all sides to his game we can work on, although I’m not going to improve his crossing, he’s a bit of a natural. But at the same time we can talk about his position, his link-up with the winger who’s in front of him and the midfield.
‘His defensive attributes are first and foremost. Making sure he’s in the right position and covers the right areas.
‘He’s very open to that, and should be, as the young players at Chelsea I work with are. They’re sponges, they want to learn and they want to listen. They’re very easily coached and you enjoy coaching them because they want to get better.’
One player who was absent this weekend was Christian Pulisic, who has not played a minute of football since New Year’s Day. The type of runs the American makes from out wide may well have come to the fore at the King Power Stadium but Lampard admits it is hard to say when the player could be back.
‘We tried to get him out there last week, step it up a little bit, but we had to pull out of that,’ he said. ‘The break might have come at a good time, it buys us a couple of weeks.
‘Of course you miss him. He’s a quality player and he was having a really good patch pre-Christmas. Others have to stand up too, but of course we’ll be happy when he’s back.’
With our next game, which is a vital fixture at the Bridge against Manchester United, coming two weeks today, there will now be a chance for some much-needed time off.
In his post-match press conference, Lampard discussed what the break means for his players and now he has revealed what he intends to do over the course of this week.
‘I’ll take a few days off,’ he confirmed. ‘I’m not travelling anywhere far afield, but it’ll be nice to spend a bit of family time. This job is consuming, I’ve probably given my wife too much chat when we’re having dinner about football and sometimes I get told! So I’ll try and refrain from that for a few days and then get back to work.
‘I know the break has been spoken about a lot, but there are a lot of people at football clubs who do a lot of work, and the players travel and they need to be intense and put a lot into it. We’re all for the break.
‘We championed it when we didn’t have it, because that didn’t help our teams in Europe and maybe our national team, and then we moan about it when we have got it and find a reason why it shouldn’t be there! I agree with it, I think it’s a good thing.’