Frank Lampard was very pleased with the aptitude and calmness his team displayed against stubborn opposition in the form of Fulham, and the boss believes there was no worthier matchwinner than Mason Mount.
The midfielder settled a hard-fought SW6 derby with a fine low finish late on as the Blues pinned back 10-man Fulham in search of a deciding goal.
It was tough going at times with good opportunities at a premium, but the resilience and patience on display satisfied Lampard as he explained afterwards.
‘The players approached it really well against a team who have had an uplift in form,’ Lampard started
‘The first half we controlled the game even if we got a bit sloppy at the end. With 10 men, the challenge was could we take advantage of this, stay in their half and move the ball quickly. It wasn’t easy because they camped and they knew what they had to do.
‘It was really important to remain calm. Our recent league form has not been what we want and we have gone from being the top goalscorers in the league to not.
‘When you’re facing a low block you have to try and find a pass that goes through a line or a bit of magic. It wasn’t quite there until Mason’s goal, but the patience and movement of the ball was good.
‘It was apt Mason got the goal,’ added Lampard. ‘His overall performance was outstanding, but the spirit of the team was great.
‘It was a small step today in terms of getting us a little bit back on track in the league, but it only counts if we take it forward over this month because we have got some big games coming up.’
Lampard reserved extra praise for Mount who struck for the second game in a row
‘He’s been very, very good for us. He only turned 22 last week, and he’s an example of our youth. I came to Chelsea at 22 and I wasn’t blowing the world away in my first year at Chelsea, I was finding my feet. Mason has already got so many games under his belt. His effort and attitude was outstanding.’
The boss also explained why it was so hard to leave Callum Hudson-Odoi out
‘There has been a real uplift in Callum’s form recently and that is part of his development. Now he’s going by people and showing a lot of confidence. He had to get over a serious injury last season.
‘Hakim gives us something different, he was outstanding in the period he was fit when we were on a really good run, Christian always is a big threat. When those three are fit there’s normally one who can’t start the game, but they must come on and impact the game because you generally make substitutions with wingers.
‘I had Leicester in mind, I’ll have to see how the players react in the next day or two, but in this busy period the players will have to accept sometimes being an impact. Callum is very exciting at the minute, he’s approaching it all the right way and he’ll get many, many minutes.’