Zouma vital for Chelsea, says Lampard

Frank Lampard says Kurt Zouma has played a major role in Chelsea’s improved defending.

The French centre-back has won more aerial duels in the Premier League this season than any other player.

Lampard said: “I saw that stat and I’m not surprised, but it’s a fantastic stat.

“He has to sustain that and he will very important – and he’s been very important for us this season at both ends of the pitch for that.”

Chelsea looked vulnerable at the back throughout boss Lampard’s first season in charge.

He was keen to address that – and added vast experience to his squad in the shape of veteran defender Thiago Silva, whose partnership with Zouma has been highly effective so far.

“It’s something we looked at in the off-season,” Lampard explained.

“It’s something we could have been better at times last season.

“There are reasons why we’ve had a decent run of some clean sheets and conceding less goals. That’s the standard we need to keep.

“That (Zouma’s form) is a factor in it. Kurt’s been a big part of that.

“But every centre-back – and actually every player in the team – has to be switched on to the aerial threat when coming up against teams that have individuals that can be dangerous for you.”