Date published: Monday 14th September 2020 10:47
Frank Lampard appeared to throw his backing behind under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, and gave his assessment on the debut performances of big money duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
The Blues saw off a spirited Brighton side to kick their Premier League campaign off with a win.
The victory did not come easy, however, and required a goal of the season contender from the unlikely source of full-back Reece James.
Speaking after the match to Sky Sports, Lampard said: “Reece James’ goal, it had me off my seat and we needed it, we weren’t at our best in that period.
“Reece has got that in him, he is a player of such quality. You try and get him in areas where he can be a threat.
“I thought we were OK. I liked the work ethic. If you analyse the fact that we’ve been together as a team for four days, to expect everything to click on day one is difficult.
“We showed determination and that is a game we might have dropped points in last year.
“I don’t want to pin us down to one system. We have three or four players who want to play as a 10 for us but I want us to be adaptable. We have a lot of attacking players, I want us to be fluid, I want that movement.
“We weren’t as fluid as we can be today but we will work on that.”
“I liked Kai Havertz. It’s not a game where you come away with some vintage moments and there’s a lot on his shoulders but you saw glimpses of what he can do. Everything I have seen from him is spot on and his quality will come through. He’s hugely talented.
“I loved the way that Timo Werner pops up in different areas, he has a hunger to score goals and be ruthless.
“We definitely want to close that gap to Liverpool, we have to have intentions to be up there even though it is a big ask to win it. We are behind, it’s step by step. Hopefully we can make big strides.
When quizzed on the strong speculation Chelsea could soon be signing a new goalkeeper, Lampard said: “I am happy with Kepa, I saw confidence in him, he is here, he is our keeper and I am happy with him.”
James promises more to come
Match-winner James admitted Brighton proved a worthy opponent, but fired a warning to the rest of the Premier League after stating the best of Chelsea is yet to come.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming here and we knew we would have to put in everything to get the three points and I think we did that,” said the full-back. “We had to push up a gear.
“As the games go on we are only to get stronger. There are new players in the team so we have to gel and get stronger week by week.
“When you bring in high level players it brings the competition up and makes everyone work harder to get into the team.”