After breaking the deadlock in our 2-0 win over West Ham United with his 200th Chelsea goal, Frank Lampard reflected on a memorable day at Stamford Bridge, both on an individual and collective level.
The midfielder’s first-half header set us on our way to a much-needed victory over Sam Allardyce’s side, before Eden Hazard doubled our advantage shortly after half-time with a brilliant individual strike.
It was a wonderful team performance, and a victory which saw us leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into third in the Barclays Premier League table, leaving Lampard understandably delighted.
‘It was very satisfying, both personally and as a team. We played brilliantly and should have won by more, and obviously it was nice to score a goal,’ he said.
‘I think we played well from the start of the game, we continued our form from the last couple of matches and moved the ball very quickly.
‘It should have been more goals if anything and we should have been more than 1-0 up at half-time. At 2-0 we probably relaxed a little bit, but we still created more chances and it was a great performance to be a part of.
‘It feels good; I never thought I’d get near 200 when I first came here, so I’m very proud to have been a part of a great club for a long time. To be able to contribute that is something that can’t be taken away from me now and I’m very pleased to get there.’
Lampard went on to acknowledge that his achievement in becoming only the second player in the club’s history – along with Bobby Tambling – to reach 200 goals was made all the more special coming in front of our home supporters.
‘It’s a special personal achievement because the fans were amazing when I did it. When I first signed for the club I would have been pleased to play 200 games, let alone score 200 goals, so I’m really happy,’ explained the Blues midfielder.
‘From the minute I came here the fans have been brilliant with me and I love them. There have been a lot of games and we’ve been through a lot of stuff. I’m very much a Chelsea person, I live in the manor and you can’t help but appreciate how they’ve been with me, so I’ve got a lot of love going back to them.’
The game will quite rightly be remembered for Lampard’s milestone, but there were plenty of reasons to be positive at the end of a week which has seen us book our place in the Europa League quarter-finals and stage a remarkable comeback at Old Trafford.
Every supporter inside Stamford Bridge will have walked away from the game marvelling at the performance of Eden Hazard, whose 12th goal of the season was just reward for a stunning individual display.
Lampard has played alongside a whole host of quality players throughout his career – including Gianfranco Zola – and he spoke in glowing terms of the young Belgian after watching him terrorise his former club.
‘He’s 22, and people forget that,’ said the 34-year-old. ‘He’s got the world at his feet and he can handle the pressure because he’s that good.
‘He’s very laid back, a great character and not too much bothers him by the look of it and that’s the way he plays, it reflects in his game. His ability and speed off the mark, and the way he’s able to turn on a six-pence is what all great attacking players have, and he’s got it in abundance.
‘Zola did it throughout his career, while Eden’s at a relatively early part of his career, but what he’s showing now is glimpses that he can be in that bracket and be one of the top players in the world, and I hope he carries on doing it because he’s an absolute pleasure to play with.’
With the team beginning to hit form, the upcoming international break perhaps comes at the wrong time.
Our next game is a trip to face Southampton at St Mary’s in just under a fortnight’s time, the first of four fixtures in an eight-day period.
There is no doubting the physical demands of such an intense schedule, but Lampard is simply happy to be fighting on a number of fronts.
‘Every game when it comes along is a priority, and we’ve got a big enough squad to handle it. People talk about fixture congestion, but it’s a great thing for the club because it means we’re still in with a chance of things,’ he explained.
‘I suppose the league is our priority because it’s our bread and butter, but we have a couple of chances to win some cups so we have to spread ourselves and we have to be determined to try and win them.
‘I certainly feel better for playing regular games. As long as you rest and look after yourself in between you’ll cope.
‘We’ve got a big squad and the manager can tweak it as he sees fit. We’re at the business end of the season and we need to make sure we win something and secure Champions League football for next year.’
– A clip of Frank Lampard talking to Chelsea TV can be seen above, with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access, or in ‘Weekend Review’ tonight at 6.30pm and 10pm.