Olivier Giroud stakes his claim as main striker as Frank Lampard seeks first Chelsea win against Leicester City
French striker top-scored in the Europa League last season and is already off the mark for this campaign
French striker Olivier Giroud is confident Chelsea will "challenge for trophies" this season as the London club aim to win their first game under Frank Lampard when they host Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
Lampard, a Chelsea legend as a player, was appointed manager in the summer to much fanfare, although after two matches the former England midfielder is still seeking his first win.
However, the disappointing 4-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford was followed by an encouraging display in the Uefa Super Cup on Wednesday, when Chelsea more than matched European champions Liverpool before losing in a penalty shootout.
Given Lampard's inexperience - prior to his Chelsea appointment, he had a solitary season in charge at second-tier Derby County - and a transfer ban blocking the club from signing a replacement for star player Eden Hazard, there are concerns that the Europa League holders could struggle during this campaign, but Giroud does not share that sentiment.
"The most important thing [against Liverpool] was to keep the confidence high, have personality to play with freedom and clearly we did that. We were very strong and we can build good things from that for the future," Giroud told the Chelsea website.
‘This squad is still very strong in terms of both quality and quantity, so I have no worries and I think we have a superb mentality. We are all pointing in the same direction, with the same targets and I’m pretty sure we can do good things and challenge for trophies. We have good hope to look forward, and winning our first home game of the season would be very important for us."
Chelsea's transfer ban may be a blessing for Giroud, with the club unable to sign a central striker. The French World Cup winner proved his worth in the Europa League last season, topping the scoring charts with 11 goals to fire Chelsea to the title, but he found Premier League chances limited under former manager Maurizio Sarri.
Giroud, 33, looks to be in direct competition with Academy graduate Tammy Abraham for the regular starting spot, and the Frenchman did his chances no harm by scoring the opening goal of the 2-2 draw against Liverpool in Istanbul.
Giroud's aerial and physical prowess has made him one of the most effective target men in world football - exemplified by his role in France's World Cup triumph in 2018 - but he believes he can also fire the goals to lead Chelsea to glory.
"If I have the opportunities on the pitch, whatever the competition, I have belief in myself to score goals," the former Arsenal forward said.
"The Europa League was my main competition last season and I always tried to bring something to the pitch, just as I did when I played in the Premier League.
"I feel very good at Chelsea and I have high expectations for this season because we have a very talented squad."
Updated: August 17, 2019 04:23 PM