Lampard hails James and German duo after victory over Brighton - GulfToday

Lampard hails James and German duo after victory over Brighton

Solly March (left)

Brighton’s Solly March (left) vies for the ball with Chelsea’s English Reece James during their English Premier League match on Monday. Agence France-Presse

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard heaped praise on defender Reece James and said he was happy with the debuts of Germany forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz after a 3-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday.

Chelsea looked shaky at times in their opening Premier League match of the season but a superb goal by 20-year old James to make the score 2-1 soon after the break swung the contest and had Lampard purring with delight.

“It had me off my seat and we needed it, we weren’t at our best in that period,” Lampard told Sky Sports.

“Reece has got that in him, he is a player of such quality. You try and get him in areas where he can be a threat.

“If you analyse the fact that we’ve been together as a team for four days, to expect everything to click on day one is difficult. We showed determination and that is a game we might have dropped points in last year.”

Chelsea were on the back foot for much of the first half but took the lead against the run of play after Werner showed a glimpse of his talent, racing past Mat Ryan to win a penalty as the Brighton keeper fouled him.

Jorginho converted the spot kick and after Leandro Trossard equalised, Chelsea enjoyed a moment of magic from Under-21 international James to restore their lead before Kurt Zouma’s deflected shot sealed the contest.

Havertz, who worked hard in a three-pronged line behind Werner which included Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount, was substituted in the 80th minute but Lampard was full of praise for the former Bayer Leverkusen forward.

“I liked Kai Havertz,” said Lampard. “It’s not a game where you come away with some vintage moments and there’s a lot on his shoulders but you saw glimpses of what he can do.

“Everything I have seen from him is spot on and his quality will come through. He’s hugely talented.”

Lampard pointed out that despite the wealth of their attacking talent, Chelsea were still a work in progress and unlikely to challenge champions Liverpool for the title.

“We definitely want to close that gap to Liverpool, we have to have intentions to be up there even though it is a big ask to win it. We are behind, it’s step-by-step. Hopefully we can make big strides.”

Meanwhile, Wolves showed no signs of fatigue as they kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win against Sheffield United on Monday.

Just 34 days after losing to Sevilla in their final game of the coronavirus-delayed 2019-20 season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side looked fresher than expected as they made a blistering start at Bramall Lane.

Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss put Wolves two goals up after just six minutes and the visitors were in control the rest of the way despite their shorter than usual close season.

It was the perfect way to open the season for Nuno, who recently signed a new three-year contract, as he tries to improve on successive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League.

Surpassing Wolves’ best performance in back-to-back seasons since the 1960s will not be easy, but there is enough quality in Nuno’s team to challenge for European qualification.

“This was the first match after a quick turnaround. I’m very pleased,” Nuno said.

“The character, the ways they worked, the resilience at the end.

“It’s been an amazing three seasons. We can create something really special. We have to stay humble.”

Blades manager Chris Wilder added: “To recover from as poor a start as I can remember here against Wolves it was always going to be a tough ask.

“I know what I have got in my changing room, they don’t go under and they didn’t. They made a game of it.”  There were just three minutes on the clock when Daniel Podence skipped past John Lundstram on the left flank and whipped his cross to Jimenez, who intelligently peeled away from his marker to guide a sublime half-volley into the roof of the net. Jimenez nearly scored again moments later when the Mexican striker’s dipping effort was superbly tipped over by Aaron Ramsdale, who was making his second Blades debut after rejoining the club from Bournemouth in the close season.


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