Frank Lampard spoke on two subjects after Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw on the South Coast in a pre-season game – the game itself and the contribution new signings Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech made, and how he is welcoming two further new players for his squad next season – defenders Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva.
Werner scored the Chelsea goal early on against Brighton, with Ziyech involved in the move with a long pass forward to Callum Hudson-Odoi who knocked the ball down for the German. It was that game Lampard addressed first, in a video that can watched above.
Read: Timo Werner on target as Chelsea draw pre-season match‘It was a good workout for us. It was a tough fixture for us because we have only been back training this week, Brighton have been training longer. For the players, the fitness level we are striving for before, now a lot go away on internationals, so it was part of our pre-season plans as such.‘I thought the first half was bright and fresh considering where we are at with those levels, against a good team, so it is not so much the result, we obviously want to win every game, but to see individuals getting fitter, the collective as a team, it was a pretty good day for us.’
Lampard contrasted this truncated pre-season with a standard one, and the amount of work needed on fitness and sharpness levels.
‘It’s slightly different, slightly less. They have not been off for so long, they have had just shy of two weeks off, so the levels have not gone down so much but there is still work needed to get yourselves to exactly where we want to be. This international break is not a positive for us at all, most clubs will tell you that, it is very difficult to try to put our team together to work on the things we need to. Now we lose a lot [of players], so we need just our absolute best to get ourselves ready for when we come back.’
On the two attacking players seen in Chelsea shirts for a first time yesterday, he had this to say…
‘I thought Timo was really sharp and bright. He got his goal really early in the game, he showed some of the qualities that I know very well he has so I am very excited about having him in the squad. I thought his work rate and everything about him was a great little start for him and Hakim Ziyech the same, some of his contributions and passing and quality levels were great. He has a bit of a knock on his knee, a little bit of a small twist which we will have to assess, hopefully it is not too bad, but in the performances they were both really good.’
Despite there being no Chelsea fans in the stadium, Lampard felt it was good to have some supporters in the stadium again. There were 2,500 Brighton fans present for what was a test event for people in attendance.
‘It made an impact for sure, the crowd were making noise. We hope to get to that stage as soon as possible, we want to be in front of our own fans and have Chelsea fans support us at the Bridge, but of course it has to be safe first and foremost but it was a nice test. I hope it went to plan, and it certainly helped the atmosphere.’
The addition of two new defenders this week as well as the previously signing Ziyech and Werner means competition and depth of squad is taking shape Lampard believes.
‘We have an idea to try to add to improve, as you should do at a club of our level, and we know that has not been absolutely possible for us, and we knew the ban and all this talk, and it was important for me to try to improve the squad and with the players that we are bringing in, it feels that way, but we need to be careful of getting too far ahead of ourselves because we need to give time to players to come in and adapt, to the way I want us to play and to their team-mates, but I think the moves we are making our positive, so I am excited and then it is up to us to get our heads down and work very hard.’
Chilwell and Thiago Silva are players at different stages of their careers. Lampard assessed what they can bring.
‘With Ben Chilwell, he is a player I know very well, he has been pretty much England’s first-choice left-back now in recent times. Great qualities in terms of how he can join in, he is athletic, his physicality, the way he plays and the quality of his left foot, so for us in terms of how he can help out on the left side, attack-wise and defensively, which of course is always first and foremost, I am excited to work with him so I think he is a great addition. At 23 years of age, it is a really positive one for us.
‘With Thiago Silva, we are looking at a player I know very well, pretty much as we all do. He brings great experience for us, he is still playing at a massively high level, as we saw in the Champions League final and games towards the final, so I expect him to come and bring that, bring his experience, leadership and his qualities. It is going to be very important for us.’
On Thiago Silva being a role model for young players in the Chelsea squad…
‘We have a relatively young squad, we saw that last year, there were games afterwards when I was probably asking for more voice and some more leadership in different ways and he brings that naturally straightaway, and also on the pitch he can help talk and be the player that he is which means affecting others. On those levels I hope he brings that. I am pretty sure he will with the qualities we know he has, so I am excited for when he joins up.’
Lampard thought back to a game in Brazil in 2013, a 2-2 draw, when he captained England and Thiago Silva skippered Brazil.
‘I got sent that picture the other day, of us shaking hands at the kick-off. Unfortunately I am a bit older now and memories of all these games are not crystal clear! But I do have memories, it was a special game, I think it was the reopening of the Maracana.
‘It was a very difficult game and I remember Thiago Silva and Neymar and all those players. It was a tough game, we got a good result there. It was a pleasure to play up against him because when a player has had the career he has had and achieved what he has achieved, it is not by luck, it is not by anything other than hard work and pure talent and hopefully he is bringing that to the club.
‘Now we are in slightly different roles, I am doing my job here and he is coming in to help on the pitch, and let’s hope it works.’