Much of the acclaim around our recent defensive progress has been put down to Thiago Silva’s increased involvement, and understandably so, but Frank Lampard has noted how well Kurt Zouma has also been performing of late.
The Frenchman has played every minute of our past five games, all of which have ended in clean sheets. Thiago Silva has been alongside him in all but one, and it is clear their relationship at the heart of our defence is blossoming.
Ahead of today’s game against Sheffield United, Lampard was keen to give praise to the less-heralded centre-back of recent times, a man who joined Chelsea in 2014 but had his Blues career disrupted by a serious knee injury.
‘I’ve been really impressed with Kurt, his form and what he’s given us,’ said Lampard.
‘He’s scoring goals from set-pieces and defending set-pieces well which is a big part of our game, and something we can improve on from last year.
‘Kurt has been here a long time but he’s had some injury problems which have made his career difficult when he was just getting himself feeling comfortable at the club. He had his loan moves which were successful, certainly the Everton one he had before he came back to us.
‘There have been obstacles in his way but he is a great professional who wants to do everything right,’ added Lampard.
‘He prepares right for games, wants to improve, and I have been very happy with his attitude during my time here.
‘Now we are seeing a level of performance and consistency and concentration we need. And that’s not just Kurt, it’s all the defenders here. We need to keep having the concentration levels going forward, no matter what that pairing is.’
Lampard has consistently recognised the arrival of Thiago Silva has had a significant impact on the whole squad, and there is nowhere that is more evident than in the centre of defence.
‘Thiago Silva’s experience and quality can rub off not just on Kurt but anyone he is paired with,’ said Lampard.
‘He has helped Kurt and we need to sustain that level of performance to keep the good run of clean sheets we are on.
‘Teams who achieve in the modern day have individuals or pairings defensively who set those standards. It’s imperative to defend well if you want to win trophies, particularly the Premier League.’