Monday, October 28, 2019

"Everyone wants an Hazard in the team"

Frank Lampard is delighted to see his Chelsea side sharing the load in terms of goals and assists in the early stages of a post-Eden Hazard era at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard completed a £130 million ($167m) switch to Real Madrid from Chelsea over the summer, bringing to an end a trophy-laden seven-year spell in west London.

The Blues often relied upon the 28-year-old as their main source of creativity in the final third and were unable to bring in a suitable replacement over the summer due to a transfer ban.

Lampard's managerial reign didn't get off to the best of starts, but after seven consecutive wins across all competitions, Chelsea are starting to look like a formidable force once again.

A 4-2 win at Burnley on Saturday saw the Blues tighten their grip on fourth position in the Premier League table , eight points behind leaders Liverpool and four clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.

Lampard's free-flowing outfit have scored 23 goals in their opening 10 fixtures, with the 41-year-old pointing to a combined effort from his squad which has helped fill the void created by Hazard's departure.

"I felt we have options and people have talked about transitions, and obviously there is when you lose a player as impactful as Eden, who scored or created nearly 50 per cent of our goals last year," Lampard told Chelsea's official website.

"You have to accept that and look for where else in the team can we come up with that sort of end product. We have the players to do it. We have attacking players who want to score goals, a team which wants to move the ball quickly and get the ball into wide areas sometimes. We want to be able to cross it, to play through teams and, as a collective, we’re scoring goals. We have to continue in that vein.

"Everyone wants an Eden Hazard in the team, don’t get me wrong, but we haven’t and it was what was in front of me. We’ve got good players and it’s important we try and be an attacking force. The Chelsea fans who travelled up to Burnley want to see a team that’s trying to play attacking football and it’s the way I want us to play.

"Of course, we have to worry about how we defend, but I want us to defend up the pitch if we can. I want us to move the ball really quickly with a view to creating chances and the players are doing that. We work hard on it daily in training, it doesn’t come easily."

Lampard only managed to record two wins from his opening eight fixtures in charge, but he insists he always "believed in the group" and that Chelsea's recent progress is the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

"We had a tough start, but I believed in the group and I believe in them daily – I’m just really pleased where we’ve got to," he added.

"We’re working hard, but we have to be aware we can improve and if we get overconfident in this moment and start making crazy expectations on ourselves from within – let everyone else talk.
"From within, it’s game by game and how we can get better day by day. At the minute we have that feeling and it’s my job to keep that going."

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