Frank Lampard staying grounded amid title talk as Chelsea go top of table

By Nick Purewal, PA
·4 min read

Frank Lampard has admitted there is “nothing wrong” with Chelsea’s fans dreaming of winning this season’s Premier League title – but insisted he will keep his own feet on the ground.

Chelsea climbed to the top of the table by flooring Leeds 3-1 on Saturday night with Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic all on target in a comeback victory.

Tottenham and Liverpool can overhaul Chelsea again during Sunday’s fixtures but, with just one defeat from their opening 11 games – against the defending champions back in September, it has been a promising start for the Blues and their supporters.

Chelsea had 2,000 fans back at Stamford Bridge to witness a pulsating victory against Leeds, leaving Lampard praising their impact – and also giving them the green light to enjoy the ride for what appears a hugely exciting campaign.

Lampard also intends to savour the win over Leeds, but has no intention of getting too far ahead of himself with regards the title race.

Asked if Chelsea’s fans are right to consider the Blues as title contenders, Lampard said: “There’s nothing wrong with the fans thinking that, their input was huge, the noise they made tonight was huge, and you can see how excited they are.

“But my job and our job is not to get carried away, to know it’s a long season, and to understand just how much and where exactly we can improve.

“This was a big win for us though, so I will let myself enjoy the evening and have a small glass of wine, maybe even a large one to be fair, but I’ll certainly stay grounded.”

Hakim Ziyech faces a nervous wait to discover the extent of the hamstring injury he suffered in Saturday’s victory.

The Morocco winger created the space for Reece James to tee up Giroud for Chelsea’s first goal, but hobbled straight out of the tie clutching his right hamstring.

“Hakim does have a hamstring injury, but we don’t yet know what the full situation is with that,” said Lampard.

Hakim Ziyech suffered a hamstring injury against Leeds
Hakim Ziyech (right) suffered a hamstring injury against Leeds (Matthew Childs/PA)

“So we’ll get him checked out and will find out the extent of that in the next few days.”

France hitman Giroud notched his fifth goal in a stellar week, building again on his stunning four-goal haul in Wednesday’s 4-0 Champions League win at Sevilla.

Giroud fully vindicated Lampard’s decision to hand the 34-year-old his first Premier League start of the campaign, leaving the Blues boss once more delighted his contribution.

“His performance was great; with the reference he is for us as a front man, his ability to hold balls up and also be clinical with his finishing, and also the personality he is in the team.

Olivier Giroud took his tally to five goals in two games this week
Olivier Giroud took his tally to five goals in two games this week (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

“People always question my selection calls up front because of the talent we have in the squad.

“But when Oli’s there I always know I can rely on him, and today he was huge.”

Leeds had taken a fourth-minute lead through former Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford but the home side levelled before the break and then claimed victory with two second-half goals.

United’s 1-0 win at Everton last weekend is now their only victory in five Premier League outings.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds could not hold on to their lead at Stamford Bridge
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds could not hold on to their lead at Stamford Bridge (Peter Powell/PA)

Boss Marcelo Bielsa conceded his side had been deservedly beaten, admitting defensive shortcomings cost Leeds dearly in London.

“I thought the result was fair, and also I think what we lacked is that we failed to recover the ball in the initial phase of the game when Chelsea played out from the back,” said Bielsa.

“We failed to neutralise them at set-pieces and in the end that was an important factor in the result.”