Frank Lampard sprung a surprise in our previous meeting with Tottenham, playing three at the back, but the boss says that doesn’t automatically mean he will replicate it when the teams reconvene at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
The 3-4-3 system nullified Tottenham’s attacking threat in our first game at their new stadium, while providing us with possibilities on the counter and out wide. However, ahead of the Premier League weekend’s curtain-raiser, Lampard detailed what could change this time around.
‘You always try and prepare and let the players know how we want to approach games,’ said the boss at Cobham on Friday afternoon.
‘There can be small tweaks, there can be bigger ones, like we did against Tottenham, but every game is different. It’s a different game to the one we took on when we went to Tottenham. At that time, they were playing in a slightly different way.
‘That day it was pleasing. We had a worked a lot of it in the week. I didn’t invent three at the back, but the players implemented it.
‘It’s one of the things you really enjoy about being a manager. This Premier League is the best in the world for it: there are styles of all sorts. You come up against Brighton there’s a style, you come up against Burnley there’s a style, and when you come up against Tottenham there’s a certain style.
‘It doesn’t mean we will go out and play the same way as we did at Tottenham and that will just work. It might look slightly different.’
Injury news: Loftus-Cheek and Abraham in the squad
Tottenham also have injury problems and Lampard was asked if this is a good time to play them
‘I don’t think so. They’re on a good run of form. Clearly an incredible player like Harry Kane is a miss, and Son is a miss, but what always amazed me are the stats when Harry Kane was injured under Pochettino. They remained a force because they had players who could fill in. I’m talking about players like Dele Alli and Lucas Moura, who have the qualities of breaking the lines from behind. Bergwijn has come in and has similar qualities.
‘And this is a London derby against Tottenham. Whatever team they put out it will always be a threat.’
Lampard had a message for Chelsea supporters
‘Whenever I speak to fans, what I’m getting is they are recognising a team that wants to play, and the youth in the team.
‘I’m not sure many teams in the Premier League have had our injuries. The fans respect that. They see what we are trying to do. But we want to win games. They will be there to support us.
‘This is a huge game. It’s not bad timing for a game like this for us. We need to stand up and fight. Teams are close behind us. We need the fans with us. The players will give everything tomorrow; I can say that now.’
On Monday Olivier Giroud made his first appearance since November
‘Oli had a very difficult December. I was asked every few days if he would leave, and that’s a difficult position for a player to be in.
‘When I spoke to him before the break he said himself he needed a few weeks to get properly, properly fit. It will have been a difficult time, which is why he wasn’t really available to start against Manchester United.
‘The way he has worked this week he is available to start. He needs to keep doing what he is doing.’
Another striker, Tammy Abraham, has trained at 70 per cent this week
‘He’s going to want to play, but he has to understand he needs to be fit and firing. We have had a period with Tammy where he was injured, came into the team, then missed a game. These things can’t go on forever.
‘And there is competition in that area. Olivier is now fit, Michy is there. There are choices for me to make.’