With the recent form of summer signing Kai Havertz being a talking point among journalists and Chelsea supporters of late, Frank Lampard wants to make it very clear the German is not lacking for effort.
Havertz’s languid playing style has led some observers to claim he is not putting a shift in for the side when selected. Lampard has the stats to prove that is quite simply not the case, even if the boss does admit the 21-year-old’s conviction is not what it could be. Recent history only serves to highlight the importance of sticking by his man during difficult times.
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‘From working with Kai, desire is absolutely not any part of the issue,’ said Lampard.
‘He has an absolute clear talent. He has a style where if things aren’t coming off people want to jump on, I have seen that in some amazing players over the years. But let me tell you, his desire, the ground he covers in games, is big. The numbers and the data are big.
‘Is his confidence at this minute as right as it can be or will be? No, because he’s having a tough moment, as are other members of the squad.
‘I can make comparisons to players who were here at a similar age to Kai: Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah. They went away, took time and came back and now they are absolute Premier League legends.
‘I don’t want to build Kai up and put pressure on his shoulders, but with young players coming to this league people have to give them time and patience, and sometimes a little bit of wriggle room,’ added Lampard.
‘It’s not that everything will happen in a few months or in one performance. In an ideal world we would be playing better as a team and you could just stick Kai in when everything is good. It’s not like that, but I definitely want to put to bed anything about a lack of desire.
‘I know him well, he’s a good lad, and my job is to coach him like I coached the young players who came through last year and made real names for themselves, and to give him confidence and show my absolute support for him.’
A busy summer in the transfer market was not reckless according to Lampard, with the boss noting we are building not just for the present but the future of this club.
He is sad that those new players finding their feet in English football and at Chelsea have not had the benefit of feeling the backing of 40,000 Blues fans inside Stamford Bridge yet.
‘It does make an impact. I’m not crying about it because every club is feeling the impact of no fans, but Chelsea fans are very supportive of players who are giving their all and trying.
‘They want them to be good players, and I think Chelsea fans, particularly those who were coming to the Bridge years ago and went through tough times, they stick with people and they appreciate a lot of the recent success the club has had.
‘The players are maybe missing out a little bit on that, but they have to fight through that one because the fans won’t be there in the near future.’