Frank Lampard, back from England’s successful conclusion to the World Cup qualification campaign, played the full 90 minutes of Chelsea’s win over Cardiff on Saturday afternoon, and afterwards spoke about a busy period for club and country.
The 4-1 win over the side from Wales got the Blues off to a good start in a period of four games in 11 days in three competitions. The break for international matches must be left quickly behind although our highly experienced vice-captain acknowledged it may have had an effect with Cardiff taking the lead at Stamford Bridge, before Eden Hazard levelled the scores with 13 minutes to go to half-time.
The victory was secured shortly after Jose Mourinho made two substitutions, bringing on Oscar and Fernando Torres, and after Samuel Eto’o gave his side the lead with his first Chelsea goal, it was the Brazilian playmaker who added a fine third, with Hazard completing the scoring with his second of the afternoon.
‘It is a very tough game for us sometimes after internationals and it can be a bit slow to start,’ said Lampard, ‘but Cardiff are very organised and having gone 1-0 down it is a great result for us.
‘Oscar came on and added what he brings which is energy and quality on the ball, but with all of us before that, we had to step up and we were looking to step it up from a half hour onwards. I did feel that when we got the second goal we would go on and get more, which we did.’
Lampard admitted it can be difficult to balance competing in many club competitions with international matches, but added: ‘We have a big squad here and it is important that we try to stay fresh.
‘The manager changes it sometimes and if you get a positive result internationally which a lot of us did, you bring that back with you and I think the main thing is focus and concentration. We want to stay at the top of the league, we don’t want to lose ground.’
To aid the focusing on the Chelsea job in hand and to restore togetherness after duty with their respective nations, Mourinho gathered the players together to stay overnight in a hotel before this weekend’s game.
‘It was good and the manager does it quite a lot, and when it has been 10 days when we have all gone in different directions it is good to be together to rest, to eat and to have some meetings about the game,’ said Lampard.
‘It is all about spirit and keeping the group tight and we have done that and shown it in our performance.’