Frank Lampard is allowing himself to enjoy the remainder of Saturday night after beating Leeds 3-1 to move top of the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s games.
His side had to come from behind after an early goal conceded at Stamford Bridge but they did it well, with in-form Olivier Giroud equalising before half-time and Kurt Zouma heading in his fourth of the season for a second-half lead, before substitute Christian Pulisic made the points safe on the stroke of full-time.And it was not just the action on the pitch that was the story from the late kick-off, as Stamford Bridge hosted fans for the first time in nine months, and the 2,000 present must have enjoyed what they saw against a traditional big rival.‘It was great to have them back, their input was huge with the noise they made,’ was Lampard’s reaction to finally having support again.
‘You could see how excited they were at the end that we are top of the league. My job and our job is to know that it is a long season and the next question is how consistent can we be with this form, how much can we improve because I believe there is lot more we can do, and there will be a lot of challenges ahead.‘I’ll enjoy the evening. I will have a small glass of wine, maybe a large one, but at the same time we need to make sure we stay grounded - but there were a lot of good things.‘To play against Leeds with the form they are in, and the type of team they are, and to be that dominant in terms of chances was a real great performance from us.’The first of those chances was taken, almost inevitably it seems given the run of form he is in this week, by Olivier Giroud.‘His performance was great, off the back of the Seville performance,’ praised his manager.‘He’s a reference for us as a front man, and when balls come into the area he has the ability to be cool and clinical with his finishing, although to be fair he might have had two or three more goals today. People will always question me about who I play up front because I have options. When Oli is there I know I can rely on him and today he was huge.’
As was Giroud’s fellow Frenchman N’Golo Kante, in performance if not in actual stature. Yet again he belied his size with a dominant showing against opponents strong in that area of the park.‘When you ask him to do anything on the football pitch in the midfield sense, when you tell him there is going to be a test put in front of him, he quietly just goes about it in the most incredible way,’ declared Lampard.‘Leeds’ midfield was so mobile that the test was always going to be there. Our midfield dealt with it brilliantly and N’Golo was a big part of that.’
It was not all good news however as Hakim Ziyech was lost to injury half-an-hour in, although that did open the way for Christian Pulisic to join the action. Hardly a bad substitute!
‘It is a hamstring injury which we will find out the severity of in the next couple of days. It is obviously a disappointment going into this busy period.‘I was really pleased for Christian today because it has been a difficult period with the injury for him, when he gets frustrated in a good way because he wants to play.‘After playing 60-plus minutes in Seville I knew this game needed a huge amount of energy from the players so I felt the wise thing was to start him on the bench and to give him maybe 30 minutes. So for him to play the period of the game he played with the intensity of the game, and to get his goal, because he has the incredible gift of arriving in the box centrally as a wideman, I was delighted and he is only going to get stronger.’