Frank Lampard

Lampard reveals Chelsea lessons; discusses Pulisic

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Frank Lampard will not forget this defeat at Sheffield United in a hurry, and probably not at all, as he revealed the lessons Chelsea learned and discussed the display of Christian Pulisic.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – Analysis ]

Lampard said repeatedly that he has ‘learned a lot’ about his players and suggested the Blades, who ran out 3-0 winners, were more motivated than his Chelsea side.

ProSoccerTalk spoke with Lampard after the game via Zoom and asked him if this thrashing confirmed the problems he already knew he had in certain areas of the pitch.

“It’s not just one game. I am always analyzing daily and game-by-game about us. I learned a lot today, about the players,” Lampard said. “You tend to learn more in tough moments in tough games. That is for me to work with and deal with going forward. The most important thing is that collectively it’s not one to cry our eyes out for days. We are in a situation where the games are coming very quickly and we know where are are at.

“We have the opportunity to fight for the top four, which is not something many expected of us earlier in the season and you will take knocks in the Premier League like this. Particularly with the situation of where we are at. The phase we are in. We are nowhere near the finished article. I know that. I never get over excited. Days like today you have to learn from and improve.”

Asked specifically about what he learned Lampard said “he learned a lot of things but wouldn’t even start on that because it will be a long answer” and he didn’t hear his players communicating on the pitch because “Sheffield United had more voice, more personality, and that reflected in the way they played.”

Ouch.

Lampard added that he “didn’t want to get into the analysis and details of the game today because it is only going to be negative, and we need to be positive.”

ProSoccerTalk asked Lampard about the main positive recently, Christian Pulisic, who was clattered early on, looked a little jaded throughout and was subbed off with 25 minutes to go by the Chelsea boss. Lampard had stated that Chelsea couldn’t get their wingers in the game due to Sheffield United’s 3-4-3 system and didn’t get Pulisic and Willian involved enough.

Was the USMNT winger feeling the impact of his impressive, energetic displays over the last 10-14 days and did that early challenge knock him back?

“I don’t think so. The tackle early in the game, it was a strong tackle but I don’t think that had any effect on it,” Lampard said. “There are games sometimes when they are difficult for you individually and Christian has affected games really well individually recently, so I certainly won’t be looking at him. Everybody who has played in that game should want more, from the Chelsea side.”

For Chelsea, all is not lost. They have three games left and if they win them all, they are guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League. It is as simple as that.

That said, the same defensive issues continue to crop up and there’s no doubt the Blues have to improve their personnel at the back. Lampard has tried everything when it comes to defensive combinations, systems and playing different people across the back four. Nothing has worked.

If Chelsea are still a mess defensively after bringing in new players at the back this summer, it’s safe to say the blame has to lie with Lampard.

Like he told us, if Chelsea finish in the top four, this is still a big step forward this season and not one many expected. However, with Liverpool and Wolves to play in their final two games of the season, Chelsea will have to defend so much better if they’re going to end their largely positive season on a high.

Lampard fumes with Chelsea: ‘All I could hear was Sheffield United’

Frank Lampard reaction
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Frank Lampard is steamed.

The Chelsea boss saw his side out-worked, out-fired, and out-muscled at Bramall Lane on Saturday as the Blues managed just one of six points against the newly-promoted Blades this season following a 3-0 loss.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Lampard didn’t mince words: Sheffield United deserved all three points.

“They were better than us, physically, in the mind and with the ball,” Lampard said on television after the game. “So you lose the game. They were stronger than us. You feel and hear every noise and all I could hear was Sheffield United voices. They are a good team. If you come here and perform below par this is what will happen.”

Chelsea handed control of the top four back to Leicester City and Manchester United, but also wasn’t too bothered by the big picture as much as the performance of his Blues on Saturday.

“I am not concerned about top four today,” he said. “All I do is sit and watch the games you broadcast and consider what we want to do. But today I am concerned with how we performed. We will see where we are when we approach Norwich. But we can’t approach Norwich or Manchester United or Wolves like we did today.”

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch v. Sheffield United ]

Lampard was also asked about a substandard day for Christian Pulisic, who was targeted by the Blades and looked merely average for the first time in weeks.

“There are games which can be difficult,” Lampard said in the post-match press call. “He has affected games really well recently.”

Lampard: ‘We should have killed the game off’ at Palace; praises Pulisic, Willian

Lampard on Pulisic
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Frank Lampard’s Chelsea continues to put the pressure on its top four combatants.

The Blues won again on Tuesday, an uneven but potent performance that produced a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The goals were there but the defense a question mark. Kepa Arrizabalaga made a great late save after allowing an ugly goal earlier, while Kurt Zouma stormed into the box to tackle Wilfried Zaha with the win on the line in stoppage time.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch — Minute-by-minute v. Palace ]

Was Chelsea fortunate?

“In the last few minutes, maybe,” Lampard said. “We should have killed the game off. Some slight wrong decisions. Kepa makes a great save, Kurt a great tackle.”

Lampard hailed his wings after Willian and Christian Pulisic again starred in the Chelsea kit. Pulisic has three goals and has drawn two penalties in five PL outings during Project Restart, while Willian has four goals and two assists in that span.

CRYSTAL PALACE – CHELSEA FULL MATCH REPLAY

It’s becoming a trend to hear Frank Lampard’s answers to questions about Pulisic, as the winger has been tremendous for Chelsea since the return from the coronavirus pause.

He scored on Tuesday, his eighth Premier League, belting a left-footed shot past the flailing Vicente Guaita to make it 2-0.

“I knew the talent that Christian has. It’s a physical league and he has come in and been great for us. The quality for us and the end product is great.”

Chelsea’s 60 points will be good enough for third if Arsenal holds on to beat Leicester City on Tuesday (The Gunners are ahead early on a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal).

The Blues face Sheffield United, Norwich City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Wolves to finish the season.

Lampard on Pulisic, Hazard comparisons

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Frank Lampard has shared his thoughts on comparisons between Christian Pulisic and Eden Hazard.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch, Analysis ]

Is Christian the American Hazard? Or is Eden the Belgian Pulisic?

The USMNT winger put in another fine outing on Saturday, winning a penalty kick and causing general havoc as Chelsea beat Watford 3-0.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s game at Crystal Palace on Tuesday (start time, 1pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard was asked about the now constant comparisons between Hazard and Pulisic.

“Having played with Eden, he had special talent straight away and draws players towards him to open up space to others. Christian is more direct. He has the ability to break a line and run forward which is a great trait in the modern game,” Lampard said. “Why I shy away from it the other night is because Eden has been here and done it over a period of time to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over time. It’s great to see him [doing well] but there’s a lot of development to come. Christian is taking responsibility to change games.”

Of course, Lamps is right.

Pulisic, 21, is still in his first season at Chelsea and after his purple patch in November/December earlier this season, he’s now firing on all cylinders and has been a constant menace since the restart. Pulisic has been great for a few months. Hazard was great for seven years.

But the general similarities between Pulisic and Hazard are striking. The way they move, wriggle past defenders and accelerate in both directions is startling. Pulisic seems to have spent the break watching hour after hour of Hazard videos and replicating his moves on the pitch in the opening weeks of the restart.

The similarities between Pulisic and Hazard aside, there’s no doubt the American winger has become the go-to man in Chelsea’s attack after a string of Man of the Match displays. Now comes the hard bit. Keeping it up for the rest of this season and next.

Pulisic has hit the ground running but Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will be available next season and competition will be fierce. But as long as Pulisic keeps playing like this he will be the first name on the Chelsea team sheet. Just like Hazard was.

Chelsea – Watford preview: How to watch, stream info, prediction, odds

Chelsea - Watford preview
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Chelsea – Watford preview: Chelsea looks to rebound from a surprise loss to a relegation candidate when it hosts another scrapper on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (start time, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The Blues failed to take hold of third place after falling 3-2 at West Ham earlier this week, and will now face an ornery and underachieving Hornets side.

STREAM CHELSEA-WATFORD LIVE ONLINE

Watford’s 28 points are enough to be outside the drop zone, but just. Aston Villa and Bournemouth have 27 points each and also face top-four chasing sides this weekend.


Team news

Andre Gray, Domingos Quina and Nathaniel Chalobah are available for Watford after being scratched from the Hornets last start for a reported quarantine infraction.

Christian Pulisic makes his fourth start in 10 days for Chelsea, who deploys Olivier Giroudat center forward.

What they’re saying

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard on the loss to West Ham: “Not the story of our season, but we have had many of these moments. Chance to go third but you have to do every part of the game to get them. The players in those moments have to show an extra mentality to get through a game like this. I have seen us play great games, but then I have seen opportunities to jump teams or close points, but we haven’t taken them. It shows the work we have to do.”

Troy Deeney on Watford’s struggles near the bottom three: “We’ve had chats. Everyone was frustrated so we’ve tried to park it as quickly as we can in regard to moving onto the next one, but there’s certainly been a lot of things said. It’s important we are able to do that as it doesn’t help anybody if people are not speaking up and saying what’s on their minds, so we had to get to a point where we understood everyone wants to win, no-one’s playing bad on purpose, but if you don’t get to the required standards you’re going to get called out and that’s ultimately what’s happened.”

Odds and ends

The odds reflect the task at hand for Watford at +750. A Chelsea win is -235.

Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham scored in a 2-1 Chelsea win at Vicarage Road earlier this season.

Prediction

The Blues bounce back, though not without warts in another 2-1 win.