Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea’s forwards will start to come good in the Premier League after Michy Batshuayi made a goalscoring return to action on Monday.
The Belgium striker scored twice against Liverpool for the Chelsea Under-23 side in a match in which Antonio Rudiger managed 90 minutes for the first time since suffering a knee injury in April.
Batshuayi’s goals were a boost to head coach Lampard, who has yet to see any of his recognised strikers score in a Premier League fixture since he took charge before the start of the season.
Lampard now hopes to see Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham get off the mark as soon as possible as his side prepare to face Norwich City on Saturday.
“Michy got the fitness work he needed out of the game. He scored two good goals, two very good finishes. I thought he worked hard and that’s exactly what the game was there to do for him,” Lampard said.
“As I’ve said here and I’ve said on the training pitch, we need Michy, we need the competition up front with the three strikers we have. I used to love practicing my finishing in training, it’s what I felt made me lucky at the weekend, and gave me an edge in front of goal.
“What I have got is great attitude in the three strikers particularly, but others in the squad also always want to stay out, want to work harder. The reality is that moments come when things don’t quite go for you. [If] Tammy’s goal goes in off the post against United, [it’s a] different story for him, different story for the game.
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“But you can’t get too down about that. I don’t think we need to go negative about it. It’s about positivity, working hard and the belief that it will come, and I believe it will come. We’re talking about quality players in terms of our attacking players, so it will come.”
Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United on the opening day and were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge last time out, having failed to capitalise on encouraging spells in each of those matches.
Lampard says it would not be fair on Norwich to describe the meeting as Carrow Road as “must-win” for his side, but he is taking encouragement from the Blues’ performances so far.
“This is the Premier League and you can’t disrespect any team to say, ‘it’s must-win’ or ‘we’ll turn up to win’ because every game is difficult,” he said.
“I was clear with the players: the performance [against Leicester] spoke for itself. The first half was fantastic. Normally that first half would be two or three-nil, and from then on very comfortable.
“We’ve shown some really good bits, but we’ve still got work to do. We’re not where we want to be, and it would be impossible to say that three games into the season. It’s not easy in pre-season with players coming back late to try and change everything in one go. You can’t. You just have to work hard and keep trying to deliver messages throughout.
“We’ll get better and the good times are good, but we also know there’s a lot to improve on. We’re not there yet.”
N’Golo Kante faces a fitness test for the match, while Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi are not likely to return until after the international break.
“Kante has got an injury he has carried all week, so we’ll assess that over the next 24 hours over whether he is [available],” Lampard added. “Rudiger’s not fit yet, hopefully for next week. That’s the only changes from where we were last week.
“Callum is training, looking bright and sharp but now we’re in the zone where it’s about protecting him, giving him conditioning with fitness, especially in the area of his injury. He has had quite a long time out.
“The international break comes at quite a good time for us with both of those and for Reece James. They’re all in a position where, I hope, two or three weeks of strong training puts them back in the frame for the squad.”
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