Improvement will come as Blues recruits settle

Improvement will come as Blues recruits settle

LONDON • Chelsea’s spending spree of around £220 million (S$391 million) in the current transfer window was supposed to help Frank Lampard’s men close the gap to Premier League champions Liverpool after they finished 33 points adrift last season.

The Blues, however, have had a less than ideal start to the campaign with one win, one draw and one defeat. They beat Brighton 3-1, lost 2-0 to Liverpool, before coming back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with West Brom last weekend.

But Chelsea boss Lampard is not discouraged, insisting his team will “attack” every game as they come.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of today’s home clash with Crystal Palace, he said: “It’s (the league game) important, but as important as every game is.

“Brighton was tough, we have lost to the champions and then clear mistakes at West Brom.

“There is clear perspective of the first three games and we are getting more settled. We will attack the game with confidence and a desire to win, like with every game.”

In the early stages of integrating new signings Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy, Chelsea laboured to victory at Brighton before being outclassed by Liverpool.

Fighting back from three goals down to draw at West Brom was encouraging for their team spirit but a worrying sign of their defensive weakness.

Lampard, however, also said that an improvement of his backline will require time and patience.

He said: “Most coaches will tell you that you need to find a pretty settled back two, you strive for it but it’s hard. Last year, we had to change a lot, this year will likely be the same.”

The 42-year-old also confirmed Christian Pulisic would be in the squad for Palace but would not start following his hamstring injury.

Hakim Ziyech, another new signing this term, is close to full fitness but “not close enough to be on the bench” and make his Blues debut.

Lampard believes both forwards will have a big part to play as the season progresses, saying: “They will all bring the best out of each other. It’s a shame we haven’t had them.

“Hakim will bring something completely different for us. I am very excited to have them fit. I have a clear idea of where I want them to play.”

Palace, meanwhile, have two wins and one loss and manager Roy Hodgson is pleased with his side’s good start so far.

“I’ve been pleased with the three performances against three top teams (Southampton, Manchester United, Everton),” he said. “On paper, it’s a tough start, but I’m very pleased and six points on the board, and hopefully, a few more on Saturday.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHELSEA V CRYSTAL PALACE

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