Frank Lampard says he is under no pressure from Chelsea board to recall the world’s most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to the first team.
Frank Lampard said “That fills a lot of headlines and articles. I am absolutely together with the board. We want the best. I am paid to make decisions. It is a decision recently where, as I have mentioned before, with form that I have to consider the goalkeeping position as well as all positions. Recently it has just changed, it is nothing final. The keepers union have to stick together and Kepa has been great in his support of Willy in this moment. All he needs to do is train and show great attitude, like I demand of all my players. Things can obviously change. All I want is the best for the team, it is nothing on one individual position.”
The Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018 from Athletic Bilbao for a fee of €80million (£71m) and established himself as Chelsea’s No1 that season. Kepa, however, has in recent weeks lost his place in the side under Lampard after making errors and Willy Caballero has taken his spot.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admits he’s feeling the pressure following their recent poor run of form. The battle for fourth place has become a six way struggle. But the levels of pressure have become far greater for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard compared to the rest. Suddenly, Lampard is expected to get into the last Champions League place whereas at the start of the season it was seen as a very ambitious, almost unrealistic target.
Earlier in the season, Lampard was defying the odds, Chelsea’s home grown kids like Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Reece James were the feel good story of the season. They were scoring goals, winning games and breaking into the England squad while, against all of the odds, playing good football and nailing down fourth place. He became his own worst enemy by raising expectation levels. Lampard even joked at a press conference that he could remember all the pre-season predictions and which pundits and journalists had given them any hope of finishing fourth. Not many, he said. In fact, in his mind it might have been none.
Frank Lampard said “This is not to talk ourselves down, because we’re six points clear in fourth, but now we probably become the underdogs … because the teams around us have strengthened.”
And then something changed. Maybe it was the wobbles in form, dropped points at home, lack of experience or nerves getting to them. Or maybe, much more likely, it was the transfer ban being overturned for January.
There have also been discussions over the handling of Olivier Giroud after he came on and made a difference against United on Monday. The World Cup winner has just made eight appearances for the club this season but looked like a handful when he was used against the Red Devils.
Olivier Giroud said “I’m a Chelsea player so now I need to move on and look forward. I want to give everything for the team and it’s a personal target for me to play as much as I can to play the Euros with my country. Right now, I’m 100 per cent focused on Chelsea’s targets and I want to keep fighting to come back on to the team sheet and the scoresheet. Every single game is a big opportunity for me to show my desire to do that. We just need to improve on the small details because that’s where you can win or lose big games. Now we need to step up and improve on those small margins – they’re huge at the highest level. It was a tough result so we need to think about it because it’s another big game for us on Saturday against Tottenham.”
On his re-introduction to the side, the Frenchman Olivier Giroud was disappointed he was unable to make a meaningful contribution. Olivier Giroud has also looked forward to facing Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.
Willian has hinted he will look to find another London-based club to play for if he and Chelsea do not agree to a contract extension, as he is desperate to remain in the English capital for family reasons.
Willian said “I have played for Chelsea for more than six years now, and I can honestly say that I am very happy here. If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she’ll say no. My daughters feel the same way. Of course, Brazil is Brazil, right? It’s our home, our culture. We always feel good when we go there on holiday and see family and friends, but London is my second home. In fact, I recently passed a British citizenship test. Man, it was hard. It’s British history in a nutshell. Some questions are so difficult that not even some of my British friends knew the answers! As it turned out, I failed on my first two attempts, but got it on the third. I am now a British citizen! So, London is where I want to stay. This is where I have my family, my church. I want my daughters to grow up here.”
Brazil winger Willian has been at Chelsea since 2013, when he joined from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and he has been a first-team regular for most of his time at Stamford Bridge. Willian has played in all but one of Chelsea’s 26 Premier League games this term, despite becoming a target for criticism from some supporters, with Frank Lampard seemingly trusting of the 31-year-old.
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