Manager hails Mount for ‘huge work ethic’ as he leads from the front
Frank Lampard has challenged Mason Mount to score more goals as he hailed his young Chelsea midfielder’s star turn against Manchester United.
Mount claimed his seventh goal of the campaign after David de Gea spilt his shot a minute after the restart, and Lampard believes the 21-year-old’s determination to press from the front set the tone for an impressive team display.
“I think with Mason that’s a big thing this year now. He’s got huge talent on the ball... but there’s improvement that can be made with him,” the Chelsea manager said.
“He wants to be a player – and I mean a top player – so much. The final pass, the amount of goals he can score in a season, they’re going to come because he’s young and it’s his first season in Premier League football, and you look at the amount of games he’s played.
“But his work ethic off the ball is huge. Sometimes it can get missed, but when you see a performance when you need work ethic off the ball and he leads from the front, with his age but his boundless energy and commitment, it’s a massive thing for me when I’m looking at how I want us to play and the team I pick.”
Lampard said he had not encouraged his players to target De Gea with shots from distance, but has been urging Mount to shoot with more power.
“It wasn’t because I have huge respect for him [De Gea],” Lampard said. “People hone in on keepers when they make errors because they are critical.
“I told Mason at half-time that I wanted to see him strike through balls more. Mason had a shot in first-half, he tried to whip it. Outside the box against keepers of quality, you have to strike through.
“Of course, he didn’t catch it brilliantly and it went in, so it goes down as a mistake. But my job is to worry about my players. Three minutes after I said strike through it, he did.”
Chelsea will guarantee a topfour spot if they beat Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday and Lampard is confident his team are heading in the right direction after securing a place in the FA Cup final.
“It’s a great achievement to get there,” he said. “To win a semi is good, to win a final is better. It’s right up there, the performance. We are progressing. We are getting better. There are always going to be some bumps in the road. Today was a performance of huge character, personality, work ethic, quality. I’m delighted.
“People have sometimes looked at us this season as Chelsea, where expectations are always high, but there is a reality beyond that. We are working towards something. We want to close the gap. It doesn’t come easy.
“We have seen that with other teams in recent years. It is step by step. We want to win the final. We have shown lots of good stuff this year. With more work and what we do in the summer, I think there will be more to come, but we have to focus on the three finals we have – two league games and Arsenal in the FA Cup.”
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