Frank Lampard was delighted with the way his young team handled a tough atmosphere in France, and he reserved special praise for our two goalscorers against Lille as well as another player who was making his European debut.
The Blues recorded a crucial victory courtesy of a late winner from Willian, who marked his 300th appearance for the club in style. Tammy Abraham’s opener had been quickly cancelled out and the manner of that goal conceded – from a corner - was perhaps the only disappointment on a night which kickstarted our Champions League campaign.
‘There is a long way to go in the group but having lost against Valencia it put more importance on this game,’ noted Lampard.
‘It’s such a tough place to come, anyone in the stadium would have felt that. The roof was on, the crowd were up for it, the speed in their team in a counter-attacking sense was very evident, something we had to be ready for.
‘Our performance was really good. We controlled a lot of the early periods of the game, we got our goal. Set-pieces are a problem for us and we have to keep working on that even more.
‘But the way we played, the chances we created away from home, the possession we had of the ball, meant we deserved to win.’
There were five Academy graduates involved, including Reece James making his European debut in only his second start for us
‘As a side story it’s special. The Academy are getting the recognition they deserve for the work they’ve done. The fans are loving it, the club are loving it and the players are responding.
‘But this isn’t a game for niceties, we have to go and win these matches and improve all the time. There were loads of signs of team improvement, and individuals. Reece James for instance was thrown into his first Champions League game and looked so comfortable.
‘The only reason to change was tactical and his fitness because he hasn’t had many games. The young players are responding, and they have to keep doing that because this Champions League level is something else. They did well tonight and they can do even better.’
Lampard spoke about Abraham and Willian, and rumours the Brazilian is close to signing a new contract
‘I have got no news on the Willian contract. That’s a conversation between Willy, his representatives and the club. Everyone can see I’m happy with Willy on the pitch.
‘Tammy’s performance was more of the same. He’s hungry for goals, he’s physical, he gives everything for the team and he has quality when the ball is at his feet.
‘Of course there’s improvement to be had but he’s showing that. The minute Tammy’s levels drop, then we look next to Giroud and Batshuayi, and can they come in and make a difference.
‘We will see many more Champions League goals from him I hope, and many more performances like tonight.’