Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Frank Lampard believes 'it's his time' for Tammy Abraham at Chelsea

Striker netted in 2-1 friendly win over Barcelona in Saitama

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has challenged Tammy Abraham to establish himself in the first team at the Premier League club after the 21 year old scored in Tuesday's 2-1 friendly win over Barcelona in Japan.

The English forward, who has spent the past three seasons out on loan, struck Chelsea's opener against the Spanish La Liga champions in Saitama, with Ross Barkley adding the second.

The striker impressed Lampard, who now said he had the chance to make his mark at the club going into a season when there can be no new recruits to the squad due to a transfer ban.

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham, right, gets the better of Barcelona's Gerard Pique. AP Photo
Chelsea's Tammy Abraham, right, gets the better of Barcelona's Gerard Pique. AP Photo

"Tammy's a goalscorer and he's hungry for goals," said Lampard. "Now it's his time to prove it for Chelsea. To get his goal will put him in good stead."

The focus pre-match had been on Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona's summer signing from Atletico Madrid.

But it was Abraham and Chelsea who shone as they put in a bright and vibrant display, although Lampard was quick to add "I won't get carried away with anything about this performance".

Chelsea had started well and should have gone ahead early on after Abraham fired over following good work from Christian Pulisic, who also gave a good account of himself in his first appearance for the London side.

But Abraham made no mistakes in the 34th minute when he was first to react to a loose ball after Jorginho had charged down a clearance from Sergio Busquets.

Arabham, who was on loan at Aston Villa last season, having previously had spells at Bristol City and Swansea City, calmly rounded Marc-Andre ter Stegen to tap the ball into the empty net.

Both sides made multiple changes at half time and then in the second half, which disrupted the fluidity of proceedings, with Griezmann only playing the first 45 minutes for Barcelona before he was withdrawn.

Barkley sealed the victory 10 minutes from time for the Europa League champions as he curled home a shot from the edge of the area.

Ivan Rakitic scored a stoppage-time consolation effort for Barcelona, but it was enough to deny Chelsea the victory.

Abraham was not the only youngster to shine in Saitama with midfielder Mason Mount also impressing.

The 20 year old, who played under Lampard at Derby County last season, held his own in the centre of the park against his more established opponents.

"Mason's had a great trip and he's announced himself into the first-team squad," Lampard said.

One concern for Chelsea is the fitness of N'Golo Kante, with the Frenchman having left the squad in Japan to return to England for treatment on a knee injury.

The 28-year-old has been struggling with the problem he picked up on the eve of Chelsea's 4-1 Europa League final win over Arsenal in May and faces a race against time to recover for the start of the new Premier League campaign.

Kante is yet to feature for Lampard's side during pre-season and the decision was taken to send him home at the start of the week.

"He is OK," Lampard said. "It was a decision that I made because I felt that him being here, with the facilities and the moving and travel that we have been doing, it probably wasn't the most beneficial for him.

"He went back, has had a few days at Cobham, working well, progressing, so hopefully by the time that we get back at the end of the week I will sit down with the doctor and hopefully know that he will be back with us very soon."

Updated: July 23, 2019 08:28 PM