Frank Lampard has reiterated his strong belief that patience must be given to the young players in his squad, particularly those who are still in the first few months of their time in England.
Criticism from some quarters was inevitably forthcoming in the aftermath of our 1-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday night, with Kai Havertz and Timo Werner highlighted for their part in a collective struggle to break down a stubborn Toffees rearguard.
While Lampard was not surprised at the finger-pointing, he emphasised his faith in the newer members of the team and insisted Havertz, who was deployed on the right in the absence of Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi, would be a significant player at Stamford Bridge if given the time to grow.
‘In the modern day, there’s going to be criticism for every player of every club that loses a game, or if something doesn’t go right,’ he said. ‘We certainly should be patient with Kai Havertz from a Chelsea end because he’s a top-quality talent coming into this league.
‘He’s played off the right wing countless times before he signed for Chelsea, he can play in any position across the front and in midfield also so that’s not an issue. We do have to be patient, not just with Kai but with any young player, and particularly a young player adjusting to the speed of the Premier League.
‘I’ve got no problem with Kai. If people want to jump straight in to criticise, I’d say just wait and give a young player time, whether it’s a week or a month or six months or a year, and come back to me, because I know the player that Kai Havertz is going to be.’
After watching his side go down to their first defeat in 90 minutes since our opening home game of the season, Lampard cautioned that perspective was required when assessing the Blues’ start to the campaign.
As a serial winner during his playing days, he knows setbacks are part of the game but how you react as individuals and as a team is key in finding longer-term success. Chelsea have a chance to do that as soon as Tuesday evening when they head to the Midlands to take on Wolves.
‘We’re a new group and this is the Premier League so you’re going to lose games,’ Lampard continued. ‘It’s very important we put perspective on it considering the run we’ve been on.
‘The challenge now is for us to show we can bounce back in a few days against a very good Wolves team. Everyone has been talking us up as having the best squad and being title contenders but I was never in that camp.
‘I know we’re a work in progress compared to some of the other squads up and around the top of the league but we do have to overcome these challenges so I’m up for Tuesday.’