Thiago Silva’s experience and leadership could prove crucial in keeping in-form Tottenham at bay this weekend according to Frank Lampard, who has praised the individual and collective improvements that have resulted from the Brazilian’s presence in the Chelsea defence.
The Blues have conceded just two goals in their past eight games in all competitions but face a Spurs side who have scored one less than our own league-high tally of 22 in the Premier League this season.
With Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combining dangerously in attack for Jose Mourinho’s men, Lampard knows this will be our sternest challenge for a while and hopes Thiago Silva can make the difference.
‘Harry Kane will probably play against most defences in world football and give them a problem so I don’t want to tempt fate,’ explained Lampard.
‘But with Thiago’s qualities, which he has shown already positionally and through his years of experience, he can help deal with these things individually.’
Lampard also cited the 36-year-old’s transformative impact on the Chelsea rearguard, referencing the veteran defender’s ability to coax improved performances from those around him as well as himself.
‘As much as his individual impact, the influence is what he’s giving off to other players around him,’ the boss continued.
‘The major part for me when you play against clever players like Kane and Son is that your concentration levels are absolutely spot-on and you then have desire to deal with situations, to keep clean sheets, and Thiago gives off that.
‘I hope his individual talent deals with them on Sunday but also as a unit we have to make sure we deal with them and Thiago is a leader at the back-end of the pitch in terms of that.’
One of the narratives of Chelsea versus Tottenham in 2020 is the managerial battle between two men who achieved so much success together at Stamford Bridge as mercurial midfielder and charismatic coach.
Lampard has previously described how Mourinho’s arrival in west London in 2004 had been a game-changer in his own career but he conceded their relationship has evolved in the 16 years since, particularly now they are rivals in the dugout.
‘I don’t think our relationship has changed that much,’ continued the Chelsea head coach. ‘When I left Chelsea in 2014, I moved on and my life moved in a different direction. When you’re a professional, you’re so consumed in it and the relationship changes so it changed but we were always very cordial.
‘If I see Jose or I talk about him or we send messages to each other, we’ve always had a good relationship on that front. Naturally now, when we are doing the cut-throat thing of being managers at these big clubs that are rivals, I think it does change the relationship. Not in a bad way because I certainly have no problem with it.
‘We are very competitive people and we both want to do well. When I speak about Jose, I always show how much respect I have for him in all senses and I’ve always felt that back from him.’
While Tottenham currently sit top of the Premier League ahead of matchweek 10, Mourinho has attempted to play down talk that they could be title contenders. Lampard, however, feels the expectations and pressures in north London are similar to those placed on him in SW6.
‘We all have relative pressures as managers, not just myself and Jose,’ he added. ‘He was here as manager so he understands it very well.
‘If you look at the spending over the last couple of seasons, what Tottenham made the summer I came to Chelsea and what they’ve done in this break compared to us, you’ll see that it’s been very similar output but the only thing that will get you success is hard work.
‘The pressures at Tottenham will be big because Jose has built a fantastic squad and has incredible players so we’re both in the same position – we want success, people have expectations on us and we work towards that.’