Frank Lampard assessed Chelsea’s start to the Premier League season as “okay” but was more complimentary of veteran defender Thiago Silva after a 3-0 win over West Ham.
The Blues will be fifth at Christmas, six points behind leaders Liverpool, having come through a tricky outing against their London rivals at Stamford Bridge.
Silva nodded a 10th-minute opener, before Tammy Abraham scored twice in the space of 101 seconds to secure victory following an extended spell of West Ham pressure.
It was a precious victory after back-to-back defeats to Everton and Wolves, but coach Lampard is not getting carried away.
Asked by Sky Sports to assess his side’s position, Lampard said: “It feels okay. I want more. I’m probably still fresh off the two defeats.”
Silva was central to ending that losing run, starring at both ends as he made six clearances, three interceptions, a tackle and a block.
The Brazil international, who turned 36 in September, is in his first season in England after a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.
Lampard left the Premier League at 36 and says Silva has exceeded his expectations.
“I remember playing in the Premier League at 36, and I couldn’t play like he’s playing, week in, week out,” the Blues boss said. “I was in and out of the team and I could feel it at that stage of my career.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 21, 2020
“What I’d say is I was probably a bit tentative. I knew he was a top player, had been a great player for a long time, but the pressures of the Premier League when you’ve never played in it and played in France for quite a long time – no disrespect – he probably has exceeded [expectations] slightly.
“But I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Now I’m working with him, I can see the quality, the preparation, the reading of the game, the desire to win headers and compete with anyone he plays against.
“He’s really studious about the game, as well; he’s clearly going to be a manager or whatever he wants to be after the game.
“He’s been a great addition for us on and off the pitch.”
Silva epitomised the “character” and “graft” Lampard felt were crucial to Chelsea’s latest victory, saying: “It wasn’t vintage tonight.
“I thought there were some good parts. The best part for me was the character, having come off the back of two defeats.”
He added: “When you come off it slightly, there’s no easy way back other than a bit of graft. I think we showed that tonight. Without being beautiful, it’s a really good result for us.”
Lampard now hopes the Blues can build on the win.
“It will help confidence,” he said. “Trying to keep a cool head in difficult moments is crucial if you’re going to do anything over a long period of time.
“That’s why I felt, as a squad this year, it’ll be tough for us to maybe challenge all the way, because we haven’t really had those moments. It feels like we have to grow a little bit of character, a bit of confidence in game.
“We suffered at Wolves, we should have dealt with that game. Today we dealt with a game that was potentially really tough.
“It’s good [for] confidence – I’m gutted Timo [Werner] didn’t get his goal at the end there because that would have been great for his confidence. He’s getting chances, so the goals will come.”
Werner is without a goal in seven Chelsea starts, his worst run at club level since 2016, but Abraham is not lacking belief.
“I don’t think the losses knocked our confidence too much,” the two-goal man said. “We knew we were a good side and we just lost it for two games. We brought it back today, so hopefully we can kick on.”
7 – Timo Werner has failed to score in each of his last seven starts for Chelsea in all competitions, his longest run of starts without a goal in club competition since September 2016, between spells at Stuttgart and RB Leipzig (9). Searching. pic.twitter.com/XK4LEPrVnL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 21, 2020