There was no question who Frank Lampard was most pleased for in the wake of our win at Burnley, with the boss singling Christian Pulisic out for praise following the American’s perfect hat-trick.
It helped us register a seventh consecutive win in all competitions, and a fourth straight success on the road in the Premier League. In notching his perfect treble,
Pulisic became the youngest Chelsea player to score a hat-trick for us in the Premier League, so it was no surprise much of Lampard’s post-match sentiment centred on the 21-year-old.
‘I’m absolutely delighted for him,’ Lampard said. ‘There’s been a lot of talk around Christian because of the big price tag, the fact he’s a star in his country and captain of the USA national team.
‘I know his back-story and the pressures of a move like that. I also know that he’s played for his country throughout the summer and only had one week’s break.
‘I’ve tried to deal with it in the way I see best, which is to give him minutes. He has played games this season already but I’ve also got competition in that area and I need them all trying to perform when they get in the team. Christian has been doing that recently from the bench, he fully deserved his start today and it was a fantastic match-winning performance.
‘I know what a good player he is because I see it close up every day. There are obviously things that he has to learn and improve because he’s just turned 21 and it’s the same as all the other young players, but he knows that and he knows I’m driving that daily in training.
‘We need that from all our attacking players – to be a threat and play like that, have a ruthless edge about how they finish and he showed the full package.’
Pulisic’s first goal in particular caught the eye
‘When you talk about the Premier League, the one thing there is is physicality, particularly at places like Burnley. If he moves the ball so quickly like he can do, he can cause teams a lot of problems. It’s a great thing to watch when people have a balance like that.
‘The first goal where he waits, then the stopover then moves away from the player, that sort of stuff is brilliant. I hope it gives him the confidence it should do. That’ll do him great going forward.’
Pulisic’s inclusion from the off was the only change from the Ajax win
‘I have a good squad and you need to keep people happy. The first thing is results, and the momentum we have gained recently means there’s not that many changes.
‘At the same time, when the moments come players need to stay fit and ready to support the team. It’s a hard part of my job to tell people they’re not playing. I know the quality I have in the squad and for sure there will be moments where I will be relying on someone else than I did today.
‘That’s why it’s so important to have real spirit as a group, whether you’re a starter or someone coming on and making an impact.’
This result and performance followed that midweek trip to Ajax and made the result all the sweeter for Lampard
‘It was really pleasing because it’s a worry. You travel back, you’re aware the other team doesn’t have that situation. That was a really taxing game, it was our toughest physical game of the year, so credit to the medical staff and everyone that works around the players.
‘They put a lot of hours in, and in the last two or three days, the players themselves have been professional about how they have recovered and picked themselves up to come to Burnley.
‘We knew it would be a tough match. It’s easy to take the small gloss off it with two goals late on, but it doesn’t take any gloss off for me. For the 95 per cent of the game we played some outstanding football in at a really tough place to play, was what made me very happy.’
Lampard commented on the second-half incident when VAR deemed Hudson-Odoi to have simulated after a penalty had initially been given
‘If I feel like it was a dive, I would speak to Callum and say that’s not what we are about. But when you are moving into the box at pace, cutting across defenders, whether VAR decides it’s not a penalty or not is one thing.
‘There were a lot of things going on in the game with people going down under not real contact, their bench wanted everything, Ashley Barnes every time he had contest in the air he falls to the ground, they want to get a free-kick to stick in the box. Let’s be clear, these things still happen all over football when it’s a fast game and people are trying to win.
‘So if it was a dive I will address it for sure, I need to look it back but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that.’