A win, a loss and a draw has made it a mixed start to the Premier League season for the Blues in terms of results, but ahead of tomorrow’s London derby against Crystal Palace, Frank Lampard has dug a little deeper and explained why no major conclusions should yet be drawn.
The boss addressed the media via videolink from Cobham this afternoon and as well as providing the latest injury news - including a positive development regarding Christian Pulisic - and a transfer update, Lampard spoke in detail about the current state of his team. That included a breakdown of our current situation at centre-back, but first he looked forward to the visit of the Eagles and assessed our early-season form.
‘There’s certainly some clear perspective to go into our first three games,’ noted Lampard.
‘We won at Brighton, which was a tough game as they’ve shown with their performances since, and then we’ve lost to the champions with 10 men for 45 minutes, and then at West Brom three clear mistakes in the first 30 minutes make goals. Normally you lose those games, we managed to get a point.
‘Of course we want to win against Palace because we want to win games and find that feeling of win, win, and win, which this team is absolutely capable of. We’re very early on in the season with a group of players who are now getting fit, and of new signings who will be getting more settled every day we train together and improve together.
‘I’m not concerned by our form. We will attack this game with confidence and a desire to win.’
One of the ingredients many identify as being vital to successful sides is a stable centre-back pairing, and asked about his regular rotation in the heart of defence since taking the Chelsea job, Lampard acknowledged consistency remains the target.
‘Most coaches would tell you in an ideal world you can find a settled back two,’ he said. ‘You also need competition through a season which lasts 60 games. There are not many teams who will say ‘this is our back two for the whole season’. It’s impossible in the modern day, but you strive for that.
‘You need a consistency in performance, relationships to build through the season, and last year we had to change a lot, and this year there will be times when it changes a lot.
‘When you get far down the line in a project and you find that stability picking the same players very regularly, that’s when you’re in a happy place, but for most managers or teams in a process, which we are, you have to strive to find the right solutions. It means some change, but I trust the players and we are working together to find the best in every area of the pitch.’
Focusing back on our next opportunity to pick up three points, tomorrow lunchtime, the name of Roy Hodgson understandably came up. The 73-year-old was once Lampard’s England manager, and our boss noted Hodgson’s behaviour on the touchline contrasts significantly with others'. It is one of the factors why he admires the Palace man so much.
‘Roy has been an incredible straight, down-the-line manager, coach, person. His career is beyond exceptional. I have got so much respect for Roy Hodgson for the job he does and the way he carries himself.
‘I don’t want to pre-empt it but there will be no touchline spats with Roy tomorrow! I have got too much respect for him and I think he’s brilliant as a man.’
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