Christian Pulisic is out of tomorrow’s Premier League game but with Hakim Ziyech now fully up and running, Frank Lampard still has plenty of quality down the flanks.
With Reece James able to operate behind the Moroccan if both are selected on the right, the crossing potential there is clear, and on the left Ben Chilwell has already demonstrated his potency, behind the likes of Mason Mount or Timo Werner, or Pulisic when he is fit.The wide areas are something Lampard has been discussing.‘Part of my thinking when Hakim Ziyech comes to the club is the balance of the sides of the pitch which is very important for us,’ he says.‘We knew Reece’s quality last year in terms of crossing the ball and when you can have a winger in front of him that offers different angles and combinations on that side to put balls into the box, then it can be a big strength of ours.‘When I say that, don’t forget that Azpi has been here for years, making big assists for the club at different times from all sorts of crosses and different angles, so when we look at the sides of the pitch it is something that we want to exploit and we can get better at it.‘At the moment we are getting praise for the sides of the pitch but as we move forward we can get better at it in terms of our execution and finishing in the box as well, but it is something I am happy with and we want to keep working on it.’
After we lost 3-0 away to this weekend’s opponents Sheffield United back in July, Lampard was not happy with the lack of vocal support players gave each other and lack of other talk, such as demanding the ball. Has that improved in this season’s games?‘We have made some changes in personnel,’ he notes. ‘Thiago Silva is a player who brings an attitude and professionalism that is infectious. The players are growing. At times last year we were a pretty young team and definitely one of the games that is picked out in my mind is Sheffield United at Bramall Lane where they beat us in every department and that hardly happened last year.
‘We just have to improve it with the work we do and the way that the squad grows and that is a process, and it is a nice test tomorrow to see where we go.‘I want to be clear going into the game that Sheffield United are an amazing team with an incredible manager who if you look at the table, nowhere near should we take that as a guideline for the game we have in front of us.‘I watched them play Liverpool and Manchester City recently, who most people would say are the best teams in the league, and they ran them both very close. Sheffield United are still that great team that had such a great season last year so it is a very tough match.’