Oct 30 (Reuters) – Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said it was important to show belief in his young players after their dispiriting 4-0 defeat by Manchester United in their Premier League opener.
Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, took over as manager in July with the club under a FIFA transfer ban that prevented them from signing players in the close season.
Lampard started forward Tammy Abraham, 22, and midfielder Mason Mount, 20, at Old Trafford on Aug. 11 and drew criticism from some quarters, including from former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, over his tactics and team selection.
“I joke a bit but there’s a lot of noise, win, lose or draw, whatever 11 I pick,” Lampard told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s return to Old Trafford in the League Cup fourth-round later on Wednesday.
“I set out this season to see what these young boys could do… For me to have thrown that away after one game at Manchester United and a few opinions, that would have made me a bit of a flip-flopper.”
Lampard’s patience has paid off, with Abraham now second in the league scoring charts with eight goals in 10 appearances and Chelsea fourth in the table, level on points with third-placed Leicester City but behind on goal difference.
Mount has four goals and an assist in the league while centre back Fikayo Tomori, 21, has formed a stable partnership with 25-year-old Kurt Zouma, who was loaned to Everton last season, in the heart of the Chelsea defence.
“(Making mistakes) is part of the process for a young player, isn’t it?” Lampard added. They have to feel you believe in them.
“I remember my managers giving me that sense they believed in me and stuck with me… I think that’s part of my job, to give all my players belief, but particularly the young ones.” (Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )