Frank Lampard admitted that Chelsea still “have to clean up on things” despite returning to Premier League action with a win.
Chelsea had to come from behind after a goal against the run of play, but managed to claim a win over Aston Villa in their first match since the resumption of the Premier League.
While Chelsea hadn’t played competitively in three months, it was Villa’s second game back, after they drew with Sheffield United in their game in hand in midweek.
And Lampard was pleased with the way his side got back into the rhythm of the game against a team who had had a head-start.
“I am really pleased with the performance,” said Lampard. “Aston Villa had a chance to do this before us, but we moved the ball well.
“It has been a little story of our season, dominating but conceding. Pleased with a win.”
The game gave Ruben Loftus-Cheek the opportunity to make his first start in over a year. While he understandably didn’t last the whole match, Lampard was thankful to have him back and tipped him to improve the more he plays.
“I am delighted for Ruben to be back in the fold. He has looked good and trained well, it was good to have something different.
“He will get much better and he has a lot to give.”
The player who came on for Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic, quickly made his mark by scoring the equaliser. And Lampard said that the American can get even more goals in the future.
“He was hungry and I felt for him, like a lot of the players. He has trained well.
“His ability to arrive in the box is great and I think he can get big numbers.”
The double change that Pulisic was a part of also saw Ross Barkley come on. Lampard is relieved to have selection problems now ahead of the run in, as they continue to battle for a top four place.
“With Christian and Ross they both have trained well. I have selection problems, good ones.
“I had them on my mind to come on early in the second half. They showed that it is important.”
Chelsea’s next game will see them face one of Lampard’s former sides as a player, last season’s champions Manchester City. The former midfielder admitted he did have an eye on that fixture, but is not able to name his team for that encounter just yet.
“Tentatively I did try to look at City, but it’s hard to get ahead of yourself. We’ll look at how players recover.
“I will look at that as well, but a different type of game. I will look at the team and attributes and then see.”
There was always going to be an element of the unknown for Chelsea coming back in a different environment after such a long time – and despite the positive result, Lampard is already prepared to make some minor adjustments to make his side even better.
“It’s important for the group and we didn’t know exactly that we were coming in to. We have to clean up on things and we have to improve and get straight back to work.”