Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

Fikayo Tomori aims to repay Frank Lampard's faith and 'stamp place' in Chelsea team

Defender will make his third Champions League appearance on only his ninth senior start for the Blues when the Europa League holders take on Ajax

Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori says he is enjoying his sudden elevation to the first team and has thanked manager Frank Lampard for his mentoring and support.

Tomori, 21, spent last season on loan at Championship club Derby County working under Lampard and they quickly found themselves reunited after the former midfielder's summer appointment at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard's decision to place his trust in Tomori has paid off so far, with the centre-back producing a series of commanding displays. He will make his third Champions League appearance on only his ninth senior start for the Blues when the Europa League holders take on Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

"Coming into the season, I just wanted to stamp my place in the team and the manager gave me an opportunity," Tomori said.

"[Lampard] has carried on giving me opportunities. Even if I make mistakes or I'm not quite in the right position, he helps me out and he's developed me a lot. He talks to me in training, so do the other players, and that helps me.

"This season has been good for me so far. It's gone better than I probably expected it would go but I'm working hard day in, day out, trying to improve and help the team as much as I can.

"Getting the senior international call-up last month was great and now I just want to keep on going."

Chelsea have won their last five matches in all competitions, including getting off the mark in Europe at Lille at the start of the month.

But they face a side which, barring a couple of high-profile summer departures, swept into the Champions League semi-finals last season and began this year's campaign with back-to-back 3-0 victories.

"It will be a very tight one," Tomori said. "Both teams are in good form and it's a big game in the group. Ajax is a great club with big history, a great stadium, so we're expecting a tough game.

"Games like these are where we can learn a lot but every game as a team we're learning and every game throws up different challenges. So far, we've handled them well so hopefully we can do the same."

Updated: October 23, 2019 12:20 PM

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