Frank Lampard praised substitutes Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi’s match-winning impact in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League victory at Ajax.
Pulisic and Batshuayi’s strong outings over at Ajax come amid their respective struggles to win a spot in Lampard’s line-up. The Chelsea coach has tended to leave them benched for much of this season.
Pulisic, who arrived in the summer from Borussia Dortmund for €64m, recently confessed his disappointment over his lack of regular opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
But the 21-year-old has since responded to Lampard’s snubs by providing five assists in his last eight appearances. He was even at it again on Wednesday to set-up Batshuayi’s winner in Amsterdam.
The Belgian striker, meanwhile, has played second fiddle to Tammy Abraham since returning on loan from Crystal Palace.
Still, Batshuayi’s patience ultimately awarded him with his fourth goal of the season.
“The fact Christian Pulisic comes on in the last two games and gets two assists, changes games, I thought his performance was outstanding for 25 minutes or whatever it was,” Lampard told BT Sport.
“And Michy, the great thing about the strikers I’ve got is that, even though Tammy has been scoring for me, the other two stayed patient, worked hard, supported the group and they’ve got talent.
“So, it was a choice to bring Michy on because of how mobile he can be and he’s waited for his moment and he fully deserved his moment there.”
Although Chelsea were, perhaps, lucky to escape with all three points after a VAR review ruled out a first-half goal for Quincy Promes.
Meanwhile, Edson Alvarez’s header hit the post in an otherwise forgettable night for Ajax.
On Ajax’s offside goal, Lampard added: “It was our mistake and that’s why the Champions League is what it is, that’s why it’s the ultimate because, in a tiny second, if you switch off, it can go against you.
“But we deserved our luck, I think. I’m a big believer in that, in how you prepare what you’re doing with the input out there, you deserve that little break.
“We haven’t had many VAR breaks this season anyway so I suppose it might have been coming, you make your own luck on that one and the one that hits the post.
“But I thought, for such a creative side that they are, we didn’t have Kepa [Arrizabalaga] under many problems and we did have a lot of moments for us in the box where, had we been better, we could have scored more.”
Chelsea have now moved ahead of Ajax on top of Group H on six points from three games.