EPL

Lampard has faith in misfiring Chelsea forwards after Batshuayi makes goalscoring return

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea's forwards will start to come good in the Premier League after Michy Batshuayi made a goalscoring return to action on Monday.

The Belgium striker scored twice against Liverpool for the Chelsea Under-23 side in a match in which Antonio Rudiger managed 90 minutes for the first time since suffering a knee injury in April.

Batshuayi's goals were a boost to head coach Lampard, who has yet to see any of his recognised strikers score in a Premier League fixture since he took charge before the start of the season.

Lampard now hopes to see Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham get off the mark as soon as possible as his side prepare to face Norwich City on Saturday.

"Michy got the fitness work he needed out of the game. He scored two good goals, two very good finishes. I thought he worked hard and that's exactly what the game was there to do for him," Lampard said.

"As I've said here and I've said on the training pitch, we need Michy, we need the competition up front with the three strikers we have. I used to love practicing my finishing in training, it's what I felt made me lucky at the weekend, and gave me an edge in front of goal.

"What I have got is great attitude in the three strikers particularly, but others in the squad also always want to stay out, want to work harder. The reality is that moments come when things don't quite go for you. [If] Tammy's goal goes in off the post against United, [it's a] different story for him, different story for the game.

"But you can't get too down about that. I don't think we need to go negative about it. It's about positivity, working hard and the belief that it will come, and I believe it will come. We're talking about quality players in terms of our attacking players, so it will come."

Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United on the opening day and were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge last time out, having failed to capitalise on encouraging spells in each of those matches.

Lampard says it would not be fair on Norwich to describe the meeting as Carrow Road as "must-win" for his side, but he is taking encouragement from the Blues' performances so far.

"This is the Premier League and you can't disrespect any team to say, 'it's must-win' or 'we'll turn up to win' because every game is difficult," he said.

"I was clear with the players: the performance [against Leicester] spoke for itself. The first half was fantastic. Normally that first half would be two or three-nil, and from then on very comfortable.

"We've shown some really good bits, but we've still got work to do. We're not where we want to be, and it would be impossible to say that three games into the season. It's not easy in pre-season with players coming back late to try and change everything in one go. You can't. You just have to work hard and keep trying to deliver messages throughout.

"We'll get better and the good times are good, but we also know there's a lot to improve on. We're not there yet."

N'Golo Kante faces a fitness test for the match, while Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi are not likely to return until after the international break.

"Kante has got an injury he has carried all week, so we'll assess that over the next 24 hours over whether he is [available]," Lampard added. "Rudiger's not fit yet, hopefully for next week. That's the only changes from where we were last week.

"Callum is training, looking bright and sharp but now we're in the zone where it's about protecting him, giving him conditioning with fitness, especially in the area of his injury. He has had quite a long time out.

"The international break comes at quite a good time for us with both of those and for Reece James. They're all in a position where, I hope, two or three weeks of strong training puts them back in the frame for the squad."

Related items

  • Mourinho keen to 'do a Mauricio' with five-year stay at Tottenham Mourinho keen to 'do a Mauricio' with five-year stay at Tottenham

    Jose Mourinho knows Tottenham is probably his last major club job in English football and would love to emulate the length of Mauricio Pochettino's stay in north London.

    Spurs sacked Pochettino after five-and-a-half years at the helm on Tuesday, moving swiftly to secure former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss Mourinho as his replacement.

    The 56-year-old has penned terms until the end of the 2022-23 season and spoke glowingly of the squad, facilities and wider project he has inherited in north London when facing the media for the first time in his new role.

    As such, he has designs on staying in charge even longer and matching Pochettino's longevity.

    "I would love to stay many years," he said. "When I say many years, I know realistically how football is.

    "If I could do a Mauricio, five-and-a-half years, it would be amazing."

    A three-time Premier League winner across two spells at Chelsea, Mourinho suggested he has 10 years left in the game when pondering his long-term future.

    That means, if all goes to plan at Spurs, this job will conclude his time in a division with which he will be forever associated.

    Other potential stops sketched out for his final years could be boyhood club Vitoria Setubal back in Portugal and his national team,

    "So, I'm 56, 61 [after five years at Tottenham]," he added.

    "Ten more years – Vitoria Setubal, Portugal. It's maybe the last [job in England], yeah."

    The immediate item on the agenda for Mourinho is a trip to face old foe Manuel Pellegrini and a West Ham side enduring a similarly underwhelming campaign to Spurs.

    Tottenham are winless in the Premier League since the end of September, with a return of three draws from their past five matches.

    They lie 14th – two places and a point better off than West Ham, who last won six games ago at home to Mourinho's old employers from Old Trafford.

  • Western Sydney Wanderers 2-3 Melbourne City: Maclaren snatches late victory for A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers 2-3 Melbourne City: Maclaren snatches late victory for A-League leaders

    In-form striker Jamie Maclaren scored in the 92nd minute as Melbourne City snatched a 3-2 win at Western Sydney Wanderers to move four points clear at the A-League summit.

    City conceded four second-half goals to lose 4-3 at Brisbane Roar last weekend, but they bounced back to edge a thrilling game at Bankwest Stadium on Friday.

    Wanderers could have drawn level on points with their opponents with a victory and they were ahead inside 90 seconds, Kwame Yeboah converting Bruce Kamau's first-time cross - the goal allowed to stand following a VAR check for offside.

    Joshua Brillante and Daniel Georgievski came close to scoring for their respective sides in an open game, but it was Maclaren who netted the game's next goal from the penalty spot after Pirmin Schwegler pulled on Denis Genreau's shirt.

    The visitors completed the turnaround 17 minutes later when Lachlan Wales squared the ball for Brillante to tap in, only for Yeboah to hammer past Dean Bouzanis to complete his brace after Alexander Meier unselfishly headed the ball into his path.

    Late drama followed, however, as Maclaren was given time and space to turn inside the box and rifle home late on to make it nine goals for the season.

  • Flick on Pochettino to Bayern rumours - the club has options Flick on Pochettino to Bayern rumours - the club has options

    Hansi Flick says it is not his position to analyse the merits of other coaches amid rumours Mauricio Pochettino could become Bayern Munich's permanent new boss.

    Bayern, who sacked Niko Kovac earlier this month, have placed Flick in charge at the Allianz Arena until at least the Bundesliga's mid-season break.

    Pochettino has been linked to the post after being sacked by Tottenham this week, although reports suggest Real Madrid view the Argentine as a successor to Zinedine Zidane at the end of the season.

    For Flick, the only focus is on the immediate job in hand, which is Bayern's trip to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.

    "It is not my job to analyse coaching colleagues," he told a pre-match news conference. 

    "The club now has all the options to look for the future, whatever they want. I'm doing my job now and trying to be successful with the team.

    "Football is a day-to-day business, it can be different tomorrow than yesterday. We'll wait until the winter break, then we'll sit down together."

    On being placed in charged for the interim, Flick added: "We prepare just as before. 

    "I am completely satisfied with the solution. It is crucial that the club has time to think about what is right for the future."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.