Analysis

Lampard pleased with improved form and increasing options

Frank Lampard praised his players for their good all-round performance in the FA Cup victory over Luton Town and enjoyed the success a switch to a 4-4-2 formation produced.

The main focus was obviously on booking our place in the fifth round with a victory at Stamford Bridge, but Lampard was also looking for a step up in form from both the team and individuals after recent games.

Following the 3-1 victory over Luton, our head coach was of the opinion that he got both of those things, and highlighted the third of our goals as an example of what his team did right in this FA Cup tie, even if he was disappointed that his players let the Hatters pull one back to make it 2-1 in the second half.

‘It was important to go through,’ he said. ‘Clearly it’s a competition we’ve had success with in the modern era and expectations were that we’d go through in this tie but in practice that’s not as simple as it sounds. Luton are a good Championship team, a competitive team with a good coach.

‘So we had to get our game right and we did. We got it right in pretty much every sense other than two sloppy moments, one for their goal, one to give them a chance, but other than that everything was nailed on.

‘It was a general team moment of complacency at how comfortable we were at 2-0, which is not good enough. We got back from that quickly, we dominated the game, all that made it was slightly nervous that we didn’t have the two-goal lead that makes it very comfortable. Once we got that back again, which we should have got a lot earlier, then the game was comfortable.

‘Our third was a team goal and Callum did very well with the assist for Tammy and Billy also joined in to play the one-two with Callum. So it was very good, lovely to see goals like that.

‘There was a lot of play like that for us today. A lot of play which was good, through the lines, midfielders joining in, wingers coming off the line. We had a lot of threats in our game and I’m pleased. It was very positive in that sense so the players need to carry on with that kind of attitude and that kind of level of performance.’

He felt securing a third victory in the space of four matches shows an upward trend, but is focused more on performances than statistics

‘That’s three wins in four games, I’m happy to quote that one because in the modern day people will very much look at these short-term stats and they can be flipped in different directions. It’s nice for us in the short-term that we have done that. You’re talking about two cup games, a league game that we won and one that we lost and at a big club like Chelsea the scrutiny is normal.

‘The good thing for us to do is not to get too caught up in how many games we won recently or where we’re at in the table. When you’re off it slightly, which we have been, the focus can only be on changing the form and I thought today the individual uplifts in form and the collective uplift in form was a big positive. So I’m very happy with that side.’

Lampard successfully changed to a 4-4-2 formation today and was pleased with the option it gives him going forward, as well as an impressive showing from our two young midfielders Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour

‘I thought the two of them in midfield were great. Their movement of the ball, their discipline in the role. When you’re used to playing in a three and it’s a two, clearly it’s different and you have to be more disciplined because you’re trying to get players higher up the pitch. It’s something we can look at going forward, but it’s a focus on the front two, making sure they come and give something that we didn’t have before and making sure that you don’t lose too much in midfield by taking a man out.

‘That was a nice step today because the lads did that. They moved the ball well, they had the discipline, so it’s something we can certainly look at going forward. I’m forever considering the attributes of players within the team, within the system, and that’s part of the process of this year when you’re looking at new players, young players and can we find the right way. Today it was right for us. I don't know if it is the way forward, but it was great to see the options that it brought.

‘Billy was outstanding. His comfort on the ball, the way he moves it, his discipline, his personality in the team was great. When he plays like he did today he makes it very difficult for me not to give him a run in the team.’

He also had praise for our two strikers, as Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick and Timo Werner looked a constant threat, despite the disappointment of having a late penalty saved

‘Tammy gets three goals which is great for him, great for us, to keep his confidence up, but the overall performance was really good.

‘With Timo, I’m disappointed for him. He gave a lot to the performance today, he was a threat behind, he was on the move, his link-up with Tammy, his link-up with people around him and it’s just one of those things. When it’s not quite going for you it can happen.

'I missed penalties, I know the feeling, I know he’ll feel despondent maybe now and the last few minutes of the game, but he shouldn’t be. It’s my job and his team-mates’ job to lift him because he’ll be fine. It was almost a sign of what’s going on for Timo at the minute, it’s not quite dropping for him, but there’ll be a time when he takes penalties without thinking about it and hits the back of the net. At the moment it’s not quite that time for Timo but it will come and hopefully very soon.’

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