Win over Ajax is Chelsea's best showing under Frank Lampard, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Win over Ajax is Chelsea's best showing under Frank Lampard

Cole hails Chelsea manager's flexibility as Ajax beaten at home

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hailed his side's 1-0 victory at Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League yesterday morning (Singapore time) as his best yet since taking over at Stamford Bridge in July.

Lampard made a telling impact with his substitutions at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Christian Pulisic set up Michy Batshuayi to score the winner four minutes from time.

After a difficult start to his first season with the Blues, Lampard has now masterminded six straight wins in all competitions.

"It is (the best win)," the former England midfielder told BT Sport.

"I'm so happy, I knew how tough this game would be.

"To play and beat them and deserve to beat them means we are absolutely top all over the pitch. I was so, so proud of the performance."

Fellow former England internationals Matthew Upson and Joe Cole both agreed.

Ex-Arsenal defender Upson said on the BBC: "This result is huge for Frank Lampard and huge in the scale of the Champions League at the moment.

"We're talking about a top Champions League team, at Ajax, and it's just a brilliant performance.

"You saw the maturity at the end there. In the last four or five minutes, Ajax couldn't get out of the right-back area.

"Chelsea pinned it in and made some great decisions.

"They took responsibility on the pitch today and Frank Lampard will be delighted with that."

Cole, meanwhile, highlighted that just 14 games into his former Chelsea teammate's tenure, the differences between Lampard and his predecessor Maurizio Sarri are already evident.

Cole said on BT Sport: "It was a top-class performance and certainly Frank's best performance since he went over.

"From being in and around the club, it just feels right. Players who may have felt pushed aside or unsure of their future, they are now producing big moments for the club and it is credit to Frank and his staff...

"The key thing there is the flexibility. Too much under the Sarri era was so monotonous and so robotic.


"Frank's changed the system two or three times here, he's played (Mason) Mount in two or three positions, because these lads are well-schooled in that way of playing.

"So as they've come into the team, it's just been smooth."

Victory in Amsterdam puts Chelsea level with last season's Champions League semi-finalists on six points at the top of Group H. The Blues are back on track to make the last 16 after a home defeat by Valencia in August.

"It was very important after losing the first game against Valencia," said Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

"They put us under a lot of pressure but we created a lot of chances to win the game. We were brave and I'm really happy we got a late goal... The wingers and midfielders did a great job, it was really important to play with great intensity."

Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle, however, felt that it was Chelsea's defence, and 21-year-old Fikayo Tomori in particular, who stole the show.

He said on BT Sport: "He's a defender that actually loves to defend first. He's a real defender who is going to get better and better on the ball and that's going out of the game. He can play in both channels.

"He's got to get better and more experienced, but where is he going to be in three years time? He's going to be a proper player."