Following the win over Hull, Frank Lampard spoke about the excitement that comes with a new season and the atmosphere which it, coupled with the return of Jose Mourinho, brought to Stamford Bridge this weekend. However it was characteristic of our long-serving midfielder that he also discussed the benefits of putting in hard work.
Lampard was one of prominent figures in Sunday’s game, not least when he scored his team’s second goal with a blistering free-kick having not converted an earlier spot-kick. It was practice in both of those aspects of the game, plus the way Chelsea had prepared for this opening league encounter and the effort that must now follow that were on Lampard’s lips.
‘It was a great start, we were very bright, particularly in the first half when we moved the ball very quickly and created a lot of chances, and we have been working on that pre-season,’ he said.
‘It was nice to see it come out in our game and at 2-0 at half-time we were comfortable. The second half was a little bit down but the game was won. We were so bright in the first half that maybe sometimes there is a bit of a come down in the second half but we were very comfortable. We will work on that and we will take the positives of the first half, look how we can improve and try to keep up a good start.’
Our all-time record goalscorer’s free-kick had shades of the one he fired past Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final in 2012 although not from quite such a distance as on that Wembley occasion. It did however have plenty of bend in its trajectory.
‘It was a long way out and I was debating whether to take it on or not, and sometimes you catch them and they fly over the bar and other times they dip down,’ he noted, ‘and I was pleased to make amends for the penalty because the goal gave us a bit of breathing space.
‘I think the balls have been developed over the years and we all want to see goals and movement, and people like Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and others on the continent brought in that sort of strike that moves the ball – and if you practice it, sometimes you get your bit of luck.
‘With the penalty, keepers are getting better and better at them and it is harder to keep scoring every one but maybe I am bit rusty having not taken so many through the pre-season. It is something that I can go away and do and I am pleased it didn’t matter to the result.’
Lampard was in the starting line-up on Sunday afternoon, as he had been on the opening day in 2004 when Mourinho, freshly arrived from Portugal first graced the Premier League. The reception for the new manager back then was good, but it was nothing like the one nine years on.
‘It was brilliant, the crowd loved it and he loved it I would have thought,’ said the vice-captain. ‘He was obviously very professional and concentrated on the game but it was a great atmosphere. We know what the club means to him and what he means to the fans.
‘There is a lovely buzz around the place. I am happy myself to be here and I was very excited in the morning to get going again and the whole stadium was buzzing with the manager returning. You can see what it means to him. All it needs now is for us to go and perform consistently and keep getting results.’