Frank Lampard declared himself pleased with his team’s performance after a 1-1 home draw with Krasnodar brought the curtain down on our Champions League group stage campaign.
Jorginho’s penalty cancelled out an opener from Remy Cabella and ensured the Blues finished Group E unbeaten, with top spot already confirmed before this evening’s action.
The Chelsea head coach made 10 changes from the weekend win over Leeds United, including handing full European debuts to Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin, and reflected afterwards on being happy with the team’s attitude on the night.
‘It was a good workout, particularly with some of the individual performances in there,’ he explained. ‘Billy Gilmour was really good on his return and Tino Anjorin was really good making his full debut in the Champions League.
‘There were no injuries, we got the work in the legs for people that needed it and also the ones that come off the bench because we’ll be needing them this week so I’m very pleased. We wanted to win but it a tough game to navigate. I asked the lads to be professional and get their attitude right and they all certainly did that.’
The boss was asked about Gilmour’s performance and his future plans for the young Scot…
‘I thought Billy was outstanding. The way he played today and how he trains, I see him growing with us. He’s going to be a Chelsea player so it’s just about making sure the pathway is right for him.
‘He made that pathway right last season and then got injured at the wrong time but playing like he did today, he’s got a lot to offer us.’
There was praise for others who came into the side too…
‘Everyone was pretty good. Kai Havertz did some really nice things - I asked him to play on the wing today, even though we’ve seen him more centrally recently but he can do different roles for us, which will be important. Kovacic again showed his qualities, Rudiger was solid at the back, Azpilicueta professional.
‘I liked the discipline of the team. You’ve got to respect the opponent and they had a few little counter-attack moments but nothing great themselves. Maybe there was a bit of zip taken out of our performance in a way but I’m relatively happy.’
Anjorin also had a good game on his first Chelsea start…
‘He’s shown in training, since last season when he was involved with us, a real ability to step straight into the level in terms of his abilities on the ball, which he showed today - the way he receives the ball, the way he moves with the ball very quickly, his physical attributes to protect the ball and run.
‘He’s had some fitness issues in terms of being able to complete games at Under-23 and youth team level, and that’s something that’s a work in progress with him but he’s a player I feel the more he trains with us, the better he gets because it’s a really good environment for him. With the injuries we have in the short-term, he’ll be spending more time with us.’
Lampard does not feel now is the time to think too much about the knockout round…
‘We don’t have to over-analyse the group stage. We have to concentrate on ourselves and at the moment we’ve won the group well and won it before tonight, which isn’t always the case, so that’s good progression from us at this level and we gain confidence from that.
‘Everything will change by February so I don’t think it’s worth jumping too much into the future other than being very happy with our path through this group.’
Finally, there was a fitness update on Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi…
‘Both players are hopefully going to be missing for around two weeks. They had scans yesterday and they’re showing it will be about two weeks so I think that’s positive, particularly with Hakim.
‘With Callum, we didn’t know what to expect because it was an injury he got in training a couple of days ago.’