Lampard also addresses the club’s set-piece frailties: “We haven’t improved much this year”
Last Updated: 03/07/20 10:11pm
Frank Lampard says he has not given up hope of Willian staying at Chelsea beyond the end of the season.
Willian signed a short-term deal with Chelsea to ensure he would see out the remainder of the extended campaign, with the Premier League set to finish on July 26.
Chelsea vs Watford
July 4, 2020, 7:45pm
The Brazilian has scored three Premier League goals since the restart, and has started 32 games in all competitions for the club this season.
Lampard said talks are ongoing with the 31-year-old, although the Chelsea head coach would not begrudge the forward should he want to move on in the summer.
“I haven’t given up hope on it,” Lampard said. “The club are still in discussions with him. We want him to stay at the club, but I also appreciate this contract for him is a big deal because of his age and where he’s at.
“I’ve been there before myself, and I respect that. The way he’s playing at the minute, he’s shown his worth to the squad.
“It’s something I hope we can get to, whatever way with Willian, he’s been a great servant to the club, if we can get it I’ll be happy, but if not I’ll certainly wish him well because I’ve got a lot of time for him. It’s ongoing, in short.”
Will Lampard look for height this summer?
Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s match against Watford, live on Sky Sports, but sit just two points above Manchester United and Wolves after losing to West Ham on Wednesday.
The 3-2 defeat exposed Chelsea’s frailties from set-pieces, with Tomas Soucek heading in West Ham’s equaliser for 1-1 from a corner.
Asked if the club would target taller players in the next transfer window, Lampard said: “We looked at set-piece stats from last season when we came into the club. Last season, we were bottom of the league in defending set plays, in terms of other teams getting big chances against us. We were second bottom in attack.
“We looked at that, but that’s not just a reference to last season because we haven’t improved much this year.
“If you look at personnel, I really don’t like talking about my days of playing, but we didn’t really work on set-pieces at all. Certain managers more than others. There were probably a few reasons why; John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Branislav Ivanovic. You stick it into an area and they defend it or score goals.
“I think similar with Liverpool, I remember a lot of talk about them on set pieces two seasons ago. They were zonal, conceded a lot. They sign Virgil van Dijk and he heads everything that comes into the box out.
“So there’s a huge relation to personnel, and if you don’t have a big size across the team, I think trying to compete and make it difficult for other teams to score is the main thing.
“I’m not trying to make excuses as we haven’t done that well enough on the pitch. That has to improve. When you look at who you might bring in, with the balance of the squad, in the modern day it’s certainly something to take into account when you’re looking at recruitment.”