Chelsea, Premier League

Lampard Happy To Still Have Giroud At Chelsea

Frank Lampard is happy to still have Olivier Giroud at his disposal after the Chelsea striker’s move to Inter Milan in January collapsed.

Inter had agreed a contract with Giroud, with Lazio and Tottenham also interested, although Chelsea opted to keep the 33-year-old after failing to secure moves for Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani and Napoli’s Dries Mertens.

The lack of a replacement meant Giroud stayed in west London and Lampard has quickly recalled the France international to solve his goalscoring problems.

Giroud scored in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Tottenham on his first start in two-and-a-half months, and Lampard is pleased he can now forget about the transfer market to focus on getting the best out of the former Arsenal striker during Chelsea’s quest to secure Champions League football next season.

“He has always been engaged even when he has not been playing, he has been engaged,” Lampard told reporters at Stamford Bridge. “I said it during the window; he has been absolutely fantastic from start to now.

“That is why he can put in those performances when he comes in. Personality on the pitch, personality in the dressing room, quality to finish, selfless in his ways. He’s our player now. In January it might have changed, it didn’t, and I’m happy with that and we move on.

“He is strong; he has been around, won the World Cup, very good with the younger players around him, wants to train at a high level every day, understands his game, his attributes and how important he can be.

“The way the team worked helped Oli, and he helped the team. To have competition in that area is what we have been lacking. We have lacked goals from forward areas, not just in strikers, across the front.”

Antonio Rudiger echoed his manager’s sentiments after his side ended a run of five league games without a win ahead of their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich. He said Giroud never went as far as to say goodbye to his team-mates and he thinks he sets the example for players in his circumstance.

“It didn’t get to that stage – luckily! He was always professional. He didn’t open his mouth and he didn’t say anything,” Rudiger said. “We all knew there were rumours but even he was very quiet and just did his work as a professional.

“That’s what I always say. Everyone is always important and, as the manager said, he always behaved well. That’s why I give massive respect to him. He was always patient, he never said anything, even when his transfer didn’t go through.

“He remained humble and worked hard on the pitch. And there was also a difference when he came on against United. Today he had a big impact on the team so I really have to say thank you very much.

“I’ve known him and been playing with him for two-and-a-half years. He is a team player. He always puts himself on the line. He is not only about scoring. Of course, he is a striker and he scores, he scored today and thank you for that, but he is always putting in the hard work and that is why I am very pleased.”

Giroud came in to the team with Tammy Abraham at 70% fitness and with Michy Batshuayi having struggled in the previous game against Manchester United. Lampard thinks that Chelsea need to adjust their tactics and mentality when Giroud plays to get the most out of his talents.

“It’s hard to isolate two different games, you can’t expect things always to work out or for strikers to score every week,” he continued. “Today, in everything we did, we had two very energetic forwards around him, and with Oli you sometimes have to adapt because of what he brings.

“It’s different to Tammy and Michy. So, we adapt. That’s partly Oli and partly the team around him.”