Frank Lampard says a change in Chelsea’s marking from set-pieces is behind their recent defensive improvement.
The Blues thumped Burnley 4-2 on Saturday to earn a seventh consecutive victory in all competitions – and a fourth Premier League win in a row.
And although the Clarets netted twice in the closing stages to give the scoreline some respectability, both goals were from open play and Lampard’s side dominated and generally looked more solid against Burnley’s considerable aerial threat.
Chelsea’s manager said switching from zonal marking to a mix-and-match approach from set-pieces is paying dividends.
“We changed a couple of weeks ago because I basically got fed up conceding so we thought we have got to change something here to give players some responsibility,” Lampard said.
“It’s hard; there are so many arguments to both sides for this one.
“In zonal you can be a bit passive. In man-to-man, in the modern day, you can get blocked and people can get away from you so we felt a bit of a mixture give a bit of responsibility back to the markers and keep a few of our bigger players in zones and we have been better since.”
A static Blues zonal defensive system had looked shaky, notably in conceding goals against Leicester and Liverpool.
And although Ashley Barnes did miss a great chance from a free-kick into the box that was not dealt with when the score was 1-0, the recent changes were effective in coping with the relentless long-ball tactics.
“It is hard to stop Burnley doing what they do well,” Lampard added.
“They get balls in the box and play for set-pieces. They stick it in and they are bigger than us but I was pleased with how we dealt with it.”