‘Changes are for freshness sometimes and tactical reasons other times’: Frank Lampard explains why he axed Marcos Alonso, Tammy Abraham and Antonio Rudiger for their win over Watford as ruthlessness pays off
- Frank Lampard dropped three players after a frustrating 3-2 loss to West Ham
- The boss dropped Marcos Alonso, Tammy Abraham and Antonio Rudiger
- Chelsea recovered with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Watford on Saturday
Frank Lampard showed his ruthless side by axing three players for their win over Watford and says Chelsea now have to deal with the pressure of a race for a top-four place.
The Blues moved back ahead of Manchester United into fourth place, having missed a chance to go third last Wednesday when they lost at West Ham.
Lampard responded by dropping Marcos Alonso, Tammy Abraham and Antonio Rudiger, and was rewarded with a 3-0 win over Watford on what he described as a ‘comfortable evening for us’.
Frank Lampard axed three players and was rewarded with a comfortable 3-0 victory
Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring Chelsea’s third goal in their victory over Watford
He said: ‘What pleased me most was a clean sheet, three goals, and a reaction after losing at West Ham.’
He says there will be pressure on his side until the end of the season. ‘We have to accept that pressure. I think every game is going to be pressure now.
‘West Ham was pressure because we knew we could go third. It’s a different kind of pressure but it’s still the same in how you focus on the game and job at hand.
‘You cannot get too caught up in what everyone does at the moment. We did that tonight. There was no nonsense. The mentality was right.
‘We started brightly and we carried on and got the small details of the game right at both ends of the pitch, which I was happy with.’
He also said he is prepared to make changes where necessary, with Kurt Zouma coming in for Rudiger and keeping out Troy Deeney and his Watford team-mates. ‘I’m pleased with the team performance overall,’ said Lampard.
Tammy Abraham was one of three players dropped by Lampard for the Watford clash
‘Changes at this point are for freshness sometimes and tactical reasons other times. It gave us a bit of both today.
‘I thought the team performance was very strong. Defensively we knew there would be long balls and that set pieces would be an issue but we dealt with them well tonight.’
And he is delighted with another thrilling performance from Christian Pulisic, who is finally filling the boots left by Eden Hazard.
He said: ‘When he came at the start of the season, he needed a break and he had to get himself acclimatised to the league and it is physical and it is tough for some of the greatest players we have seen in this league from the beginning.
Lampard says his team need to be prepared for a fight to qualify for the Champions League
‘He got to grips with it today quickly and he was playing very well. He got injured at the start of January and he had been injured until the start of the restart but he looks now that he is sharp and hungry.
‘The quality is there for everyone to see at the moment. He is going past players, he is moving at pace and he always works very hard for the team in all senses so I am very happy for him.
‘I think considering his age, what could become of him, I am very very pleased. We have got ourselves a very very good player and he can get even better.’