Football

Conte right to show them who's the boss, says Lampard

Chelsea legend Lampard backs Blues boss for stamping his authority

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has backed Blues manager Antonio Conte for showing the squad who's the boss recently.

Conte had dropped David Luiz in an apparent bid to stamp his authority, after their 3-0 loss to AS Roma earlier this month.

                  GROUP C
QARABAG CHELSEA

Without Luiz, the Blues have won their last two games - 1-0 over Manchester United and 4-0 over West Brom, justifying Conte's decision.

Said Lampard in his weekly column in the Evening Standard: "The two victories do back up his decision in the short term. Andreas Christensen has come in and done very well, so we have to give him and Conte credit."

Luiz is the third star whom Conte has clashed with at Chelsea. Diego Costa was dropped last season for disciplinary reasons and Nemanja Matic was made to train with the Under-23s before leaving for Manchester United this summer.

The decision to let Matic go might still come back to haunt Conte. But, for now, it appears the Chelsea side have responded to Conte's show of authority.

Meanwhile, Lampard has urged Luiz to train hard and regain his place in the first XI.

The two victories do back up his decision in the short term. Andreas Christensen has come in and done very well, so we have to give him and Conte credit. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, in his Evening Standard column, referring to the Blues' 1-0 win over Manchester united and 4-0 victory over West Brom without David Luiz

Said Chelsea's record goalscorer: "Luiz has been fantastic since he's been back at the club and played a major part in them winning the title.

"He appears to be keeping his head down - we haven't heard or seen him in the press talking about it - and seems to be training hard. This is the way it has to be."

Lampard, who believes that Luiz still has a future at the club, added that the Brazilian defender could find himself back in action as soon as tomorrow morning, when the Blues face Azerbaijani side Qarabag, where a win would seal progress to the knockout stage.

The Blues must get the three points against Qarabag and not leave it to their last group match against Atletico Madrid on 
Dec 6.

Conte suggested as much when he said they must win in Baku tomorrow to help ease the pressure during a congested fixture schedule.

After returning from Azerbaijan, the English Premier League champions face 11 matches before the end of the year.

"We have to play the most important game of the season from the start until now," Conte said.

"If we are able to win against Qarabag, we can go through to the next round of the Champions League and this is very important because this period from now until January is very busy, so we must win the game."

Qarabag won't be pushovers, though. Despite being bottom of the group, they had drawn 0-0 with Atletico Madrid at home and 1-1 away, which hasn't gone unnoticed at Stamford Bridge.

Said Conte: "It won't be easy because in the last two games they drew twice against Atletico Madrid... it is very important to be focused, to work and to try to win the game." - WIRE SERVICES

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