Chelsea’s new-look midfield delivers for Lampard

Frank Lampard felt Chelsea’s midfield balance was spot on in their resounding victory over Everton.

Chelsea won 4-0 at Stamford Bridge, where they were without the injured N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic and the suspended Jorginho.

Billy Gilmour retained his place in the team and was again impressive in Jorginho’s anchor role.

And Blues boss Lampard was delighted with the way Ross Barkley and goalscorer Mason Mount gave the teenager excellent protection despite their own attacking instincts.

Lampard admitted he felt playing with two attacking players in central midfield could be problematic if they neglected the defensive side of their game.

He therefore spoke to them about the potential pitfalls – and their response was emphatic.

Lampard said: “I’m not trying to be anyone, but you look at how Man City have played it and they have offensive number eights who want to work off the ball.

“I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have, not concerns, but you’re very aware when you have two players that could easily be number 10s and they have a lot more work to do off the ball.

“What I do know is that they’ve got the capacity for it. It was more: ‘Can you be focused and use your energy, maybe not so much all the time to be going forward, but to use it slightly backwards and also be aware that you need to protect Billy when the ball’s on the other side?’

“We had those talks and I think that was probably one of the most pleasing parts of the performance for me – they gave us that (defensive work) but also when we get the ball we’ve got two really offensive players.

“I thought the players in the midfield got that balance right on the pitch.”

Complete Chelsea performance

Chelsea have stumbled at home at times this season but this time they delivered what Lampard felt was their most complete performance at the Bridge since he took over last summer.

“Yes it was, because of the goals and the clean sheet,” he said.

“In terms of the performance, I think we’ve been close to that a lot here. I’ve then sat here and mulled over a 1-0 defeat.

“We’ve played some really good stuff at times here, with energy, and we haven’t got the goals. Today we had that.

“We’ve reached levels but today it all came together.”

‘Far to go’

The win cemented Chelsea’s position in the top four and was a huge step towards qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

They are three points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, but Lampard was reluctant to agree that his side are now clear favourites to clinch fourth place.

“I don’t feel that way. We have to fight until the end for it,” he said.

“It’s in our hands, but with a lot of games to go and points to play for, I’m certainly not going to jump in and say we’re favourites.

“It certainly doesn’t feel to me like we’re favourites, because there’s too far to go.

“We need to keep our feet on the ground but today we saw some really good stuff.”