Delighted is a word that came readily to Frank Lampard’s lips as he relished his team’s achievement in making it through to next season’s Champions League in his first season as Chelsea manager.
Proud was another one and he had words for individual players, but he did have one regret, that the achievement was behind closed doors.
Two rapid-fire goals on the stroke of half-time were sufficient for the win over Wolves and fourth place in the Premier League table, the position we occupied for the majority of the season. Manchester United won their game at Leicester too, so finish third on goal difference.
‘Not having the fans here, as the manager of the club, it is important for me to say it was a moment I would have liked to have enjoyed with the fans at the end because we have been very together this year, and the support from the fans during some inconsistent and difficult times has been huge. I want to thank them from afar because the achievement of the top four is for them first and foremost and we look forward to having them back.’
The goals today came from Mason Mount free-kick and yet another Olivier Giroud strike, and that was from a Mount assist.
‘He’ll definitely get better,’ Lampard said about the 21-year-old midfielder, ‘because he is so young and sometimes when a player comes in and plays in their breakthrough year and stays consistently in the team, people maybe think they are older than they are.
‘He is still young and his technique today for the free-kick is a special technique. Only top players can strike a ball that way and his all-round game for the season has been brilliant, his work ethic and how he handles himself daily in training is brilliant, and he will get a lot better. He has contributed a huge amount and that is just a start for Mason at Chelsea.
‘We have seen breakthrough seasons and we have seen players who were on loan in the Championship last season come in and perform, and we have seen the stories of players like Giroud and Willian and Kovacic and Jorinho, people who have really contributed during the year, so it is always a team effort and a collective effort of staff and players and I have to say I am proud.’
Lampard also had some special words reserved for much-decorated Spaniard who came on near the end.
‘I want to talk about Pedro because he has played his last game for the club and the lads have just pretty much serenaded him in the dressing room and rightly so, because of the career he has had generally and because of the career he has had at this club. The impact he has had here has been huge. I want to make a big thank you to Peds and wish him well. He is here for our remaining games but a big player for the club leaves and the spirit I saw afterwards is something that is pretty special.’