Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Villas-Boas impressed by Lampard

Andre Villas-Boas (left) and Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard has been given the biggest indication yet that he remains central to the plans of Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas after his 50th-minute header got the Blues back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at Blackburn.

Lampard's Stamford Bridge future was seriously questioned when he suffered the indignity of being dropped earlier this season but the 33-year-old regained his place and was hailed by Villas-Boas at Ewood Park. Lampard's sixth goal of the season was worth its weight in gold to Villas-Boas following calamitous defeats to QPR and Arsenal.

Villas-Boas said: "It was a good goal by Frank and he has found his timing to arrive in the box like the old days. He is scoring a lot this season and the cross from [Branislav] Ivanovic was inch-perfect."

Villas-Boas conceded the win, rather than the manner of it, was all-important as his team sought to rectify their recent slide, and there were signs late on that Chelsea's wobbling defence still needs some work.

Ayegbeni Yakubu and substitute Grant Hanley both saw late chances denied by Chelsea keeper Petr Cech - who played much of the game with a broken nose after an early clash - while Branislav Ivanovic headed a late corner against his own bar.

Lampard himself believes both himself and his side are heading in the right direction.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I'm very pleased we got the three points, albeit not at our best. We had to address the manner we lost the Arsenal game."

Lampard, who scored 15 goals for the club last season, added: "Being out of the team spurred me on. The minute you're taken out of the team people talk. I've trained hard and I've won my place back in the team."

The result heaped more pressure on Rovers boss Steve Kean, who claimed not to have noticed a small plane which buzzed over Ewood Park during the first half trailing a banner reading: 'Steve Kean Out'.

Fans also protested at the end of a game which had failed to spring into life in a tepid first half notable only for Cech's long period of treatment, and a first-minute effort which Daniel Sturridge lifted tamely into Paul Robinson's arms.

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