While his opposite number and former manager Carlo Ancelotti was left to rue an Everton performance the Italian said was wrong from the start to the end and in which his team failed to compete, Frank Lampard was able to reflect on a 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon during which pretty much everything went right for his side.
The 4-0 scoreline against the Toffees did not flatter Chelsea, and there were top-class contributions throughout the team, from young players and the senior players alike.
Lampard was asked if it was the most accomplished display of the season.
‘At home yes, because of the goals and the clean sheet,’ he decided.
‘It is an easy one to analyse on that front but in terms of performance, we have been close to that a lot at Stamford Bridge and I have then sat here and mulled over a 1-0 defeat because we have played some really good stuff at times here, with energy, and we haven’t got the last bit which is the unpredictable bit, the goals that make the performance more comfortable.
‘Today we had that. We have reached levels but today it all came together, the finishing, the energy in the team, the speed of pass, the getting after the ball and winning it back, and that is a nice little template. There is a lot of work to be done and it is even better to say that after a good performance because we need to keep our feet on the ground, but today we saw some really good stuff.’
Adding to the sense of satisfaction is the fact the squad is truly stretched at the moment, yet those on the pitch produced the goods regardless of their personal situation.
‘You will always need your squad through the year,’ pointed out Lampard. ‘We have a lot of injuries but the only way to tackle that is to work and fight and play at a high intensity with energy and to trust in each other.
‘The whole attitude and focus of the team felt really strong today after the Liverpool win and sometimes I have been searching for why we have played well at home and not scored and there has been something missing. Today there was pure focus within the group.
‘We had Olivier Giroud playing well,’ he highlighted. ‘He is selfless and then you must have runners and energy around him to make the most of it. And stick balls in the box like we did for his goal. He is a personality and we need that.
‘Kepa has been out of the team and showed character and he has come in for two clean sheets and made saves, and had a brave moment at the end of this game. Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso have come back in and that is what we need. It does not matter if you are four months from the end of your contract or out the team for a month, you have to train every day full pelt, be a brilliant team-mate and when you come in you have to try to contribute.’
Remarkably for a player at the very start of establishing himself in the side, Billy Gilmour was named man of the match for the second game running.
‘Billy is receiving the ball in difficult areas on the pitch where if you don’t move it quickly you don’t get the rhythm of our play,’ explained Lampard, ‘and secondly if you give it away there it is dangerous, so you need confidence to do that, and Jorginho has it and Billy has it.
‘One of the most pleasing things is that Billy showed that in the first half and then when he stepped up and played as one of the higher midfield players later in the game, he instantly took it on board, arriving in their box and playing balls higher up the pitch and he showed he can do both [positions] which is a great thing for me when I am thinking about how the midfield looks at times.’
Lampard added that the cushion between his fourth-place side and those teams below us with nine league games still to play does not feel comfortable to him, and he is wary of saying his side have found a second wind despite the quality of the last two wins.
‘I am experienced enough to know we go to Aston Villa for our next game and they are fighting for their lives, they have good players so we must try to replicate what we showed today. We had a good patch early in the season, we have struggled with inconsistency recently, but who hasn’t in this league apart from Liverpool, and in a transitional period, although I don’t accept that, it is understandable. So we have to work as have today to show that we can finish [the season] with strength and get better.’