After watching his side come from behind to earn a point at third-placed Leicester City, Frank Lampard gave credit to his goalscorer and goalkeeper, explained the late introduction of a false nine, and looked forward to the winter break.
In a game that swung this way and that in an incident-packed second half, the boss left the East Midlands ultimately satisfied his team had something to show for our efforts.
‘A fair point on play,’ was Lampard’s verdict.
‘First half we were the better team. We had some good chances, and we gifted them some. Our work off the ball, and some of our stuff on the ball, was good, to come here and play with that personality.
‘Second half of course they had their chances late in the game. So it evened itself out. I am pleased with a point.’
Toni Rudiger scored a brace, his first goals of the season
‘I was delighted with his two goals. We need to score more from set-pieces, particularly in games against good opposition when it’s tight. So really pleased with Toni.
‘We did miss him earlier in the season. He brings an aggression and a presence in everything he does. That’s good because we have young players in those areas as well. He is more experienced of our centre-backs. He brings his quality in lots of ways.
‘Set-pieces are something we have been a bit short on, in terms of how desire have we got to put our head on it and score goals. He brings that naturally.’
Lampard kept Willy Caballero in goal for his first league appearance since last February
‘I thought his performance was pretty good, he made some good saves, was comfortable with his feet. I was right behind the Harvey Barnes goal and it was typical with the deflection.
‘He wasn’t at fault for the second goal, not in my opinion. The ball travels on the cross, he follows that and retreats to his goal when he realises he can’t get it. The problem comes when we defend the cross and get sucked into the six-yard box. Chilwell pops up the other side of that, and someone has to be tighter to him.’
Lampard explained why Caballero and not Kepa started
‘You make decisions every week and every day in this job. No decision is easy. When it comes to a goalkeeper you probably do give it a little bit more thought and a bit more time, especially if someone seems to be the designated number one. That can’t be the end of the story. We have to be competitive. Willy trains well, he acts well and he played well against Hull last week. I decided to stick with him.
Late on Lampard went without a recognised striker
‘It wasn’t really to shore it up. We’d spent a lot of time this week on how we press without the ball. Ross has been playing pretty well recently. It was a case of bringing him and Willian on in those two front positions to maybe get a bit more ball. At that point it hadn’t stuck so much up there.’
The first-ever winter break comes next for Lampard and his players
‘Being a footballer is a fortunate job. You do what you love. Sometimes you get home after lunchtime. But it’s also taxing with the pressure, taxing on the players’ families who don’t see them so much when we have a lot of games.
‘I absolutely think the benefits of the break are there. They should enjoy it, and then they’ll come back and work hard. It’s not a mini pre-season but it’s something like that for a few days at least. It’s good for the Premier League.’