New Straits Times

Lampard enjoys ‘solid win’ for Chelsea over Palace

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LONDON: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard felt his young side passed another stern test as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Saturday.

After their breathless midweek 4-4 home draw with Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League, Chelsea enjoyed a rather more straightfo­rward day against Palace.

Chelsea laboured in the first half against a rugged Palace side, but Tammy Abraham put them ahead after the break with his 10th goal of the season before Christian Pulisic sealed victory with his fifth goal in three league games.

The return of midfield shield N’Golo Kante helped Chelsea keep their third clean sheet of the season.

Lampard fielded the club’s youngest-ever Premier League line-up at kickoff, giving 19-yearold defender Reece James his first league start, and his trust in youth is paying off.

“Every game in the Premier League is hard, particular­ly against a team as organised as Palace,” said Lampard.

“In the first half we started well, then allowed our tempo to drop, but when we came out in the second half with the intent that we did, we won the game relatively comfortabl­y — a nice, solid win with a clean sheet.

“We’ve had teams come here and be difficult to break down, it’s a test of not only how you unlock the door, but can you switch on to make sure you don’t get hit by the sucker punch?

“I was really delighted with the game management in a game like today. I got as much joy out of Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori’s performanc­es in defence, and the midfielder­s shielding in front of them, as I did our attacking play.”

It meant defeat for Palace manager Roy Hodgson in his 300th Premier League match as a manager.

“I thought we weathered the early storm well. We controlled an opponent in very good form,” said Hodgson.

“Eventually they scored a good goal, but the second goal was a little unfortunat­e as we were starting to grow into the game and looking a little bit likely ourselves. Then it was very difficult for us to get back into it.

“It’s an unfortunat­e spell we find ourselves in, but I can’t say I’m disappoint­ed with our performanc­e.”

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