Ben Chilwell believes the new-look Chelsea proved their defensive quality in the goalless Champions League draw with Sevilla.
Summer recruit Chilwell again impressed as the Blues battled out a Stamford Bridge stalemate to open Group E on Tuesday night.
Brazil veteran Thiago Silva and fit-again goalkeeper Edouard Mendy solidified Chelsea’s rearguard as Frank Lampard’s side tightened up following Saturday’s turbulent 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton.
'Defensively as a team we were solid, against a very good team.' 👊 @BenChilwell
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 21, 2020
Lampard’s Chelsea had leaked 63 goals in 43 matches before Tuesday’s shut-out – the worst return of any Blues boss.
But £45million Leicester recruit Chilwell is confident the London club have the personnel and the credentials to plug those gaps.
“I think we showed that defensively we’re a very strong outfit,” Chilwell told Chelsea’s website.
“They’re one of the best teams in Europe and to get a clean sheet against a very good attacking side was positive.
We’re a top team and when you’re playing for Chelsea you expect clean sheets and if you’re conceding a lot of goals you’re going to get criticism as a top team.
“We didn’t give them a lot of chances. It would have been nice to get a win at home but we’ll take the draw and a clean sheet.
“I think the important thing there was the clean sheet. We knew people would be looking at us after conceding three goals on the weekend and defensively as a team we were solid against a very good team.
“We’re a top team and when you’re playing for Chelsea you expect clean sheets and if you’re conceding a lot of goals you’re going to get criticism as a top team.
“So for us it was important that we keep working hard on the training pitch.”
— Ben Chilwell (@BenChilwell) October 20, 2020
Boss Lampard hailed Brazil defender Silva’s calming influence on his back line, admitting he will manage the 36-year-old carefully to keep him fresh this term.
“Thiago Silva was very good; he brought both quality and experience as we hoped and he affects others around him,” Lampard said.
“He was a big plus and a part in keeping the clean sheet.
“I will manage his workload this season. I have a very close relationship with him already and I remember being in that position towards the back-end of my career so I will be very aware of his maintenance and training and game selection, to try to have him at his optimum.”
I remember being in that position towards the back-end of my career so I will be very aware of his maintenance and training and game selection, to try to have him at his optimum.
Frank Lampard on Thiago Silva
Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui had hyped up the build-up to Tuesday’s clash by installing Chelsea as one of this term’s Champions League favourites – and the ex-Spain boss reiterated that prediction after the goalless draw.
Lampard remained phlegmatic about the phoney war of pre-match platitudes, however, insisting there were plenty of teams capable of going the Champions League distance.
Asked to respond to Lopetegui’s praise, Lampard said: “I saw it, I didn’t consider it too much.
“I don’t really look too far into anything that is said before a match.
“There are a lot of teams that could challenge, and Sevilla would be one of those teams.
But I’m not jumping down the line, I’m just looking at where we are now.
“We’re only a few games in and we’re going to get better. A clean sheet is a nice sign of improvement for us as we keep working.
“But it doesn’t matter what anyone else says – we’re going step by step at this stage.”