Chelsea continued their progress under Frank Lampard with a hard fought win at home to Newcastle. Newcastle played hard and created many chances and only a single goal was the difference between them today.
Speaking after the game Frank Lampard gave his assessment and answered the following questions.
Pressure paid off in the end?
“Yeah, credit to Newcastle, you can see why they’ve got a couple of big results this year. They’re organised, men behind the ball, a threat on the counter attack and in the first half we were a little bit safe and a little bit slow.
We moved the ball side-to-side but not with enough urgency and not enough risk to take people out of the game. That was the message at half time and for the majority of the second half we did that, we were good.
“We created a lot, the combinations were good, we played between the lines more. People were going one-v-one, Callum, Willian, Christian when he came on, and there should have been more goals. It would have made the last ten minutes more comfortable.”
“Delighted. If there was a worry it was that the international break might have cut out momentum and we’d forget the good thing we were doing to get those results. But particularly in the second half you saw a spirit and energy in the team.
“Every game now we need to go back to basics and keep trying to pick up those wins, because it’s a tough league when you see the results around you realise how tough it is. You take nothing for granted. Today it was tough, we had a bit of a problem and we solved it with the way we played in the second half.”
Pleased that you were able to keep playing and not panic?
“I’m pleased with that. The players need to be brave and confident. It’s a great sign of the squad when subs come on and make such a difference. Kovacic was outstanding when you’re talking about taking people out of the game, centrally, creating opportunities.
“Christian came on in a position just behind Tammy and started to turn and get at people, which created the goal. So, I’m pleased. That’s the way we are. We have to play like that. We’re not going to go long unless it’s an option needed to change things up. It could have been an option we needed later on today but we got our reward.”
Christian Pulisic, a big impact?
“I’m really pleased for him. He’s a hot topic because of the price tag. Because of his status in his national team, and his world status through that. And everyone has got a little bit carried away with the short term. The long term is that he’s come here and he’s just turned 21 and to see him play like he did today, and there’s a lot more to come.
“It’s not the end story. You can see his balance and awareness and you can see how he can play. And there’s improvement to come as with all the young players, but delighted for him because he will feel good about that. And he should do because he was a big part of us winning that game.”
“It is nice, sounds good. Third at the minute, obviously if City win. It is good. You get asked for your aims, we know we want to be challenging in the top four, and from a slightly difficult start it is a good sign that we are moving in the right direction. In all senses. Performance, results. All that must do is be an incentive for us. Football can change in an instant. Our arrival into the top four must only give us the hunger to stay there and move on.”
What is the key to breaking down teams and is there an extra satisfaction of doing so?
“Yeah there is, it is a problem you will get and fair enough. The key is to be quick in passing and thought and to be confident. We have a team, individuals who can make a difference in those games, in tight spaces and organised teams. That is why I say that I think we were a bit safe in the first half. Not real belief that we can do something to take someone out the game, centrally more than anything. When we did that you saw it. Also, urgency. Like when the ball goes out for a throw, don’t walk to get it, run to it. Get a free-kick quickly, get the crowd up and get momentum up. We did that second half.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi, must be pleased with him?
“I thought he was good, really good. I agree. In terms of product on the wing and taking people on. He looked sharp, getting at people. A big threat. I am really pleased with that. The end product will come even more with Callum, another young player. So coming inside and getting his shots away, he was giving them a big problem so it was great to see and for the fans to see. Callum needs to carry on doing that. There is the other side of the game, off the ball. He knows that he can get better at that, and he will do. There are glimpses today of some of the special stuff he has got.”
Ross Barkley and Cesar Azpilicueta injury worries?
“I think Azpi was alright, he didn’t say anything when he came off. Ross turned his ankle. It looks a bit nasty at first glance, but the doctor wants to have a look at tomorrow. I have no more on that.”
No thoughts about him being fit for Wednesday?
“I genuinely don’t know. We will assess tomorrow.”