Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has expressed his delight after his decision to field a “forward-thinking” midfield paid off in their win over Everton.
The Blues scored two goals in either half as they thrashed Carlo Ancelotti’s side to move to within two points of third-placed Leicester and open up a cushion over their top-four rivals.
With the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho out in midfield, Lampard opted for Billy Gilmour, Ross Barkley and Mason Mount and all three were excellent as they cut through the Toffees time and time again.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, however, Lampard admitted that he was worried about whether his midfielders would be able to handle both attacking and defensive responsibility.
Asked what he thought was the best part of his side’s performance, the manager said: “Well, it’s collective isn’t.
“When you pick a midfield like we picked, particularly that area with players that are very forward-thinking – there’s two eights in our team – you do worry about the defensive nature of the game.
“But we were spot on every part of our game, not just the midfield three but the team, the attitude, the focus and, to be honest, we’ve played like that a fair bit at home this year but we haven’t had that last bit which is the unpredictable bit.
“Today we had it but the overall performance was brilliant.”
Sunday’s clash was 18-year-old Gilmour‘s first Premier League start but he excelled and deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award to top off a fantastic week, following his display against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
“It’s pleasing,” Lampard said. “It’s something the academy has deserved because they’ve done so much hard work for years and now the players are getting in the team.
“With Billy, I always felt that the more he trained with us the better he got, you could see that. So for me, when he played I think he’s just going to get better.
“I’m not jumping the gun because it’s two outstanding performances but when you watch his intelligence and receiving of the ball, he’s always checking his shoulder.
“He plays the simple pass but it’s always right and the perfect weight and he puts his foot in.”
Chelsea‘s next game sees them face Aston Villa on Saturday before a last 16 Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich.