‘I will manage him… we want him to play as many games as we can’: Frank Lampard heaps praise on ‘quality’ Thiago Silva for role in Sevilla shut-out and insists 36-year-old’s experience can solve Chelsea’s defensive woes
Frank Lampard is determined to call on Thiago Silva as much as possible this season after the veteran defender produced a starring role against Sevilla.
With Chelsea reeling from their defensive collapse against Southampton, which saw victory snatched away in stoppage time, Silva returned to the side and his experience told as Lampard’s side produced a timely clean sheet in their Champions League opener.
At 36, Lampard knows Silva needs to be carefully managed and while he cannot play every game, the Chelsea boss notices the big difference in his side when the Brazilian is left out.
Thiago Silva’s experience played a crucial role in Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Sevilla
Frank Lampard was full of praise for the 36-year-old and said he would manage his minutes
‘I thought he was very good today,’ Lampard said. ‘I spoke about quality and experience before the game and he brought both of those and it affects others around him, which I think he did.
‘He was a big plus in terms of getting the clean sheet. Over the season, I will manage him and I have a very close relationship with him already even if he uses a translator.
‘I will always work closely with him and I remember being in the same position myself towards the end of my career, in the last year in the Premier League.
The former PSG captain is a vocal leader for Lampard and it was invaluable on Tuesday night
‘So I will be very aware of maintenance training and his selection as we want him to play as many games as we can to be at his optimum level.’
Chelsea have kept just three clean sheets this season – against Barnsley, Crystal Palace and Sevilla – and it is no coincidence that Silva has started all three matches.
And with Manchester United, who will be buoyed from their late away win over Paris Saint-Germain, up next Lampard was acutely aware of the need to shore up the defence against an impressive Sevilla side.
‘The clean sheet was a big deal for us today because they can give you a lot of problems,’ Lampard added.
‘They play a physical way, a distinct style which made them hard to press and we matched them. I feel the two teams slightly worked each other out.
‘I was pleased with that professional element to it after I spoke to the players about game management. I did say it the other day with where we are at and with new players coming in who are trying to feel the way that we want to play.’
Silva (left) has started all three of the games this season where Chelsea have kept a clean sheet
Silva’s calming influence was key on the night as he returned to the side having missed the draw to Southampton after a late return from international duty.
The 36-year-old partnered Kurt Zouma in the middle with Reece James and Ben Chilwell the two full-backs.
Summer signing Edouard Mendy, like Silva, impressed in goal as he continues his bid to be undisputed No 1.
‘The concentration and focus you need to get a result, to get a clean sheet tonight, was big for the team,’ Lampard said. ‘The decisions they made when they defended well, the decisions to play longer rather than keep possession, the decisions were good tonight so it is a really nice place to build from.’