Frank Lampard said it was important that John Terry was able to “have a moment” with the home supporters before Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Terry, now on the coaching staff at Villa, returned to his old club on Wednesday, though goals from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount saw the Blues collect all three points.
The former England international won five Premier League titles with Chelsea after coming through their academy.
Having experienced Stamford Bridge from the opposition bench with Derby County last season, Lampard fully understood the situation for Terry: “I’ve been there myself, coming back here last year. It’s a strange feeling.
“You want to do your job and do it as well as you can as a professional, but the feeling you have for the club and the people you see and the crowd, which I know how John feels about them and vice versa, is a big deal.
“It’s actually not easy in a way, and I’m pleased John got it out of his system, had his moment there and the fans gave him his proper applause, as was expected, before and after the game.
“I think John was very humble about it, didn’t want to make a big deal, but the fans obviously love him here, the club does. He’s a legend, the most decorated captain, one of the greatest players, everyone knows his story, so it was important that he got that.”
Two Chelsea legends back at Stamford Bridge!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 4, 2019
An injured Abraham was replaced seven minutes from the end after making his comeback from a hip issue, but Lampard played down the severity of the problem as he praised the 22-year-old.
In a season-long loan at Villa last term, Abraham scored 26 league goals to help the club achieve promotion to the Premier League and he has netted 11 times in 14 top-flight appearances for Chelsea.
Asked about his injury, Lampard replied: “It doesn’t seem too bad. Tammy at the moment is Tammy. A striker near the top, showing his all-round game. A personality in the dressing room.”
Villa boss Dean Smith said he was disappointed with the goals his side conceded, while expressing concern about the treatment Jack Grealish is receiving from Premier League defenders.
Asked whether there is a risk heavy challenges could jeopardise the midfielder’s fitness, Smith told reporters: “If he doesn’t get protection, then yes.
“You can’t have tag teams having a free whack at him. The officials need to sort that out.”
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