Frank Lampard has backed “hungry” Christian Pulisic to play a big role in the Blues’ bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League after the forward scored in 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
Aston Villa controlled the first-half but fell behind when Kepa failed to hold Anwar El Ghazi’s shot and Kortney Hause was on hand to bundle in.
Lampard sent Pulisic on in the 55th minute. Five minutes later, the United States international equalized when he lashed Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross into the roof of the net.
Oliver Giroud then sealed victory two minutes later when he drove in from 15 yards with the help of a slight deflection.
Pulisic was playing his first game since New Year’s Day after recovery from injury. Lampard’s confidence clarify he will be his important player in the run-in.
“He will start games for us. Of course, and I think he’s going to be a big payer for us. Not just in this run-in but going forward”. Said Lampard.
“He was hungry. I know that and I felt for him as I felt for the players with long-term injuries”.
“The ability he’s got to arrive in the box, it’s a big thing. I’ve spoken about it with him all season”.
The win means the fourth-placed Chelsea restored their five-point advantage over Manchester United and Wolves, who are fifth and sixth respectively.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa remains in the relegation zone, one point from safety after taking one point from their first two games back following the Premier League resumption.
Chelsea rally from where they left off
The season suspension came at a frustrating time for Chelsea. The Blues had beaten Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round and thrashed Everton 4-0 in the League.
With 105 days from the win against the Toffees, Chelsea looked fresh and motivated from the outset against Aston Villa. The club fought for survival.
However, the only concern was their inability to turn chances into goals especially in the first half.
Mason Mount saw a powerful strike kept out by Villa keeper, Orjan Nyland before Ruben Loftus-Cheek, making a welcome return to the side after a year injury, just failed to turn home a teasing ball across the goal face.
It could have proved costly when Villa scored from their second shot on target to take the lead.
In the end, Chelsea got the job done with 19 on goal attempts. Perhaps, they should have won by a more comfortable margin.