Chelsea concluded the pre-season trip to Dublin with a resounding victory over local side St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday afternoon and Frank Lampard spoke afterwards about his pleasure at the progress being made.
Our new head coach watched on from the dugout as goals from Mason Mount, Emerson and an Olivier Giroud brace helped us to a 4-0 win in the Irish capital.
‘We should have scored more goals but there were big elements of the performance we were pleased with, particularly in the first half,’ reflected Lampard afterwards. ‘Some of our build-up play and combinations in midfield and around their box was fantastic.
‘These games are important to win for the feeling but it’s also important for the lads to get every little bit out of them physically and in terms of how hard they work. It was a good exercise in that sense. We’re one step further on – there were better periods of play, better quality from us, but the physical side is something we’re still striving for.’
Mount scored the opener in his first appearance for the Chelsea senior side and Lampard was happy with the contributions made by many of his younger players, paying particular praise to 18-year old Billy Gilmour for his work ethic and quality shown over the past nine days.
‘It’s important that the younger players have a target to prove in pre-season that they’re good enough for a place in the team or the squad,’ he explained. ‘Tammy [Abraham] and Michy [Batshuayi] had a lot of energy up front and showed exactly the sort of stuff that I want. Mason showed what I saw at Derby last year with his energy alongside Ross so there were a lot of good performances.
‘Billy Gilmour has had a brilliant trip. He’s a young lad but the personality he’s shown and to play in two games at the level he’s played has been great. I just hope he keeps on pushing like that this season.’
Lampard also discussed his side’s aim for adaptability as they lined up in a 4-diamond-2 in the first half before switching to 4-2-3-1 after the break. Given the fact we may not be able to sign players for the remainder of the transfer window, the new boss believes he must come up with more refined ways to succeed.
‘We want to be adaptable, whether we need to change something in-game or for games,’ he said. ‘That’s the way we train and I want the players to have that. We know we’re not bringing any players in so we need to find little ways in pre-season and we want to try to make it difficult for teams to play against us.
‘It went really well in the first half. We had a lot of bodies in midfield and they dominated the ball in there, as they should do in this sort of game. As we get fitter, train more and the combinations get better, hopefully we’ll see more of that.’
N’Golo Kante has been in Dublin since the start of the week but did not feature against either Bohemians or St Patrick’s and Lampard provided an update on the Frenchman’s fitness.
‘He’s been training on his own with the physios this week because he’s still feeling the effects of his injury from the end of last season and we just want to be careful with him,’ he explained. ‘It’s not a big problem. We know he’s a fit boy and he has a great attitude so the last thing we want to do is push him too early. Hopefully next week in Japan we’ll start to integrate him into the group.’