We’re one third of the way through the group stage of this season’s UEFA Champions League, and things are already shaping up pretty nicely. It’s clear to see that this is going to be a campaign unlike any other, with many of the top sides struggling to hit that next gear -whereas others are able to thrive in their absence.
The Lampard project has been ongoing for a while now, and after some initial question marks regarding his legitimacy as manager, he seems to be steadying the ship. There’s still a long way to go, but the early signs are coming out more positive than they did before.
Winning with kids
Tammy Abraham was able to give Chelsea a first half lead, before the hosts levelled things up 11 minutes later. Then, just 13 minutes from the end of full time, Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross was converted by Brazilian star Willian who struck a lovely volley into the back of the net.
“It feels really good. This was a really hard place to come, added to the pressure of not beating Valencia. And it was the first time for a few travelling in Europe.” said Lampard.
“Tomori was outstanding again. He has to keep on with that. Now Ajax have set their stall out in the group. This gives us confidence and points. Now the hard work begins.”
“Tammy is handling that situation as he handles everything in life, with enthusiasm, happiness, a desire to work,”
“Of course he want to be the best, and with that comes international recognition. I see that every day. The next decision on that is for Gareth. I never want to tell him what to do.
“But when you see the performances of Tammy, Mason (Mount) had it in the last squad, and the way (Fikayo) Timori is playing now, they are giving themselves a chance.”
After two games, Chelsea fans should be feeling pretty confident about what they can accomplish in the competition this season. While going all the way and winning it seems unlikely, they could almost certainly make it to the latter stages.
Lampard has a lot of experience in the Champions League, and now that he’s got a few games under his belt as manager, he can really start to kick on and attempt to do something special.
The squad itself isn’t the deepest in the world, but once their transfer ban is lifted, there is going to be an awful lot of potential in this Chelsea team.
Many people believed that the step up from Derby County to Chelsea was going to be a bridge too far for the Englishman, but that certainly hasn’t proven to be the case.
If anything, the transfer ban has allowed him to think on his feet and really restore some hope in the club’s youth.