London: The fighting spirit Chelsea showed in Sunday’s victory over Arsenal is exactly what manager Frank Lampard wants from his young side, but the Englishman says the team will only push on if they can consistently replicate that aggression.
Chelsea’s 2-1 come-from-behind win at their London rivals kept them fourth in the table despite their struggles against the Premier League’s lesser lights in recent weeks.
Lampard’s men lost to West Ham United, Everton and Bournemouth before outclassing Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur, then were beaten by struggling Southampton before their stunning late comeback against Arsenal.
“It was everything I wanted,” Lampard said as his side prepare for the trip to Brighton in a relentless Christmas fixture list. “We’ve been rightly questioned recently. Everton away being a good one... we were quiet after that game in the dressing room. I didn’t like it.”
Chelsea’s players were involved in heated discussions in the tunnel at the Emirates Stadium after going a goal down before half-time and Lampard said a frank dressing room exchange during the break was the catalyst for their comeback.
“I don’t want 11 quiet players who get on with it and trot out again,” he added. “I said my piece and it was pretty firm ... Then the lads started talking. It was aggressive, which was a good thing.” The 41-year-old stopped short of describing the performance as a turning point and said marrying character with style was the next step in Chelsea’s development.
“Last week we won at Tottenham by playing really good football from beginning to end,” he added. “[At Arsenal] we won by showing some fighting spirit. If we can put them together we’ll have a chance.” Chelsea’s next match is against 14th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, struggling West Ham said the appointment of David Moyes as manager for the second time is key to safeguard their place in the Premier League.
Moyes, whose career has never recovered from a deeply unsuccessful spell as Manchester United boss in 2013-14, succeeds Manuel Pellegrini, who was sacked after a 2-1 defeat to Leicester on Saturday that left the Hammers just one point above the relegation zone.
The 56-year-old has been without a club since leaving West Ham after a six-month spell in the 2017-18 season.
Moyes guided West Ham to safety that season after Slaven Bilic was dismissed in early November and will be tasked with doing the same for a second time.
“It’s fabulous to be back,” said Moyes in a club statement.
“I’m feeling very proud that I’m back here at West Ham. But I think more importantly I’ll be looking to see what I can do and what I can make improvements to.
“I do believe that the squad of players I’ve got here is a better squad of players than when I took over before, so I am looking forward to working with them.”
The West Ham hierarchy were keen to make a swift appointment following Pellegrini’s sacking ahead of Wednesday’s crucial clash with fellow strugglers Bournemouth at the London Stadium.
“David proved in his short time with the club that he was capable of getting results and we believe that he will start moving the club in the right direction once again,” said West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan.
“We are delighted to welcome David back - he knows the club well and he built strong relationships during that time which will be crucial for the work that needs to be done going forward.”
Moyes won nine and drew 10 of his 31 previous games in charge of the club.
He made his name in 11 successful years at Everton, but was sacked after less than a year as Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United.
Moyes also struggled in short spells at Real Sociedad and Sunderland before taking the West Ham job first time round on a short-term contract.
He was not offered a new deal despite comfortably keeping the club up by finishing 13th.
However, West Ham’s ambitious appointment of former Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Pellegrini did not pay off as the Chilean was let go on Saturday after a run of seven defeats in nine Premier League matches.
Brighton v Chelsea, 4.30pm
Burnley v Aston Villa. 4.30pm
Newcastle v Leicester, 7pm
Southampton v Tottenham,7pm
Watford v Wolverhampton, 7pm
Man City v Everton. 9.30pm
Norwich v Crystal Palace, 9.30pm
West Ham v Bournemouth, 9.30pm
Arsenal v Man United, midnight
Liverpool Sheffield United, midnight