Shoring things up defensively has laid the foundations for a good run of Chelsea results recently, while the switch to a three-man midfield last week amplified our output in front of goal having fired a couple of blanks. Frank Lampard has been discussing the development of both those sides of our game with two more fixtures around the corner.
Starting with a closer look at our defensive efforts that have earned four clean sheets on the bounce, Lampard reserved special praise for Edouard Mendy. The new goalkeeper has enjoyed a first prolonged spell in the team after a minor injury setback, and has rewarded his manager with some impressive performances.
‘From the first game he’s come in, he’s played well,’ said Lampard.
‘He’s shown his own security and that’s what we’re striving for. When we brought him in, it was clearly for competition and that’s right, and then it’s up to the players to show their own quality, and he’s shown them.
‘I’m so pleased with the way he’s started. He’s settled in really well, engaging, trains hard, wants to talk and make relationships with the players in front of him, so it’s been a really good start for him.
‘It’s not just him,’ Lampard pointed out.
‘When you look at the team, and the way we’ve defended, Thiago has come in in that period as well, and we are working on the discipline of the team and defending in the box. It’s been a constant for us. We have to give credit to individuals within the collective, and he’s done really well too.’
The switch to a 4-3-3 shape in Krasnodar midway through the second half yielded a flurry of goals, and that formation was retained from the off for the trip to Turf Moor on Saturday.
It was, Lampard recognised, a great success, with much of his credit given to Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, the two central midfielders tasked with getting up and down the pitch in the fashion Lampard so often did in his playing days.
‘I liked the balance of the midfield,’ said the boss.
‘N’Golo Kante was fantastic behind Mason and Kai, and there was a fluidity about it where they could drop out and get on the ball in deeper areas. There was a lot of energy in that midfield as well as quality.
‘We have played slightly differently in the last couple of games, and there have been a lot of positives. It doesn’t mean we can’t change back, but it’s great to see what it did for Kai and for Mason. It brought the best attributes out of what people would regard as really offensive players.
‘I was really impressed with their humility and work ethic of those two. They were prepared to do both sides of the no.8. That’s what I want from the players who play as the two number eights. I want them to join, help build, get assists and goals, and they did it.
‘I never doubt Mason’s response professionally,’ added Lampard.
‘There are things I get to see behind the scenes people on the outside don’t. His attitude is first class every minute of every day in a work sense.
‘Kai Havertz playing in that eight position in the last couple of games has shown a lot to his game, picking up the ball in deeper areas as well as arriving in the box. It’s certainly given me nice feelings and ideas. We haven’t trained a lot, we are playing games to improve, and sometimes it takes a little process of tweaks of formation to see the best way forward. That will keep tweaking, but when you see performances like that, it gives you a nice feeling.’