Gerrard and Lampard hail Chelsea's perfect performance
Gerrard and Lampard hail Chelsea's professional and disciplined display
Chelsea's swashbuckling 2-1 Champions League Group C victory at Atletico Madrid yesterday morning (Singapore time) had the pundits purring.
They showed grit, from the way they fought back after going down to Antoine Griezmann's first-half penalty.
Then they turned on the style with Alvaro Morata's 59th-minute equaliser and Michy Batshuayi's injury-time winner.
Former Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard believes that the result was just reward for a superb attacking display by Antonio Conte's men, one which not even Barcelona or Real Madrid could match.
He told BT Sport: "To be fair to Chelsea, that's the first time I've seen this Atletico Madrid defensive unit get torn apart.
"I've never seen a team, even Real Madrid and Barcelona, I've never seen those two sides, who are the best in the world, do that to an Atletico Madrid team.
"So it was some performance."
Gerrard was not the only one who was blown away by the Blues' power.
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard struggled to recall a better away European performance by an English outfit.
He said: "Can't think of one... but I don't think the performance was spectacular. It was so professional, the discipline in how they set up and credit to the manager for that.
"Their work-rate and closing down against one of the strongest teams, who are usually closing the other team down, and then the quality of their forward play at certain times.
"Listen, they didn't score loads of goals, I don't think anybody does there. But to win there and perform as well as they did was a huge statement from Chelsea."
The win sent Chelsea to the top of Group C with a perfect record, with eight goals scored and just one conceded.
Batshuayi's ice-cool finish with practically the last kick of the game didn't go unnoticed, too.
Conte was full of praise for the Belgian hitman, who replaced Morata with seven minutes remaining and inflicted a first home defeat on Atletico since September 2015.
It was the 23-year-old's fifth goal in six appearances, of which only three were starts.
Said Conte: "It's a very important goal for Michy, don't forget he is another young player and, last season, he struggled a lot to understand the league.
"He's improving and his commitment has been very good during the transition.
"He has a lot of room for improvement and he has to continue to work in this way, because every time you have the chance to play, you must respond."
Eden Hazard, whose individual performance was described by Lampard as "spectacular", feels this was Chelsea's best display in the Champions League since he joined the club in 2012.
Asked if the win was Chelsea's best this season, he told Chelsea TV: "Yes, but in the Champions League also.
"Since I came here, I think it is the first time we have beaten a really good and strong team in the Champions League.
"We did well. There were not just a few moments, it was from the first minute to the end of the game."
But, amid the praises, there was also some criticism, most of them directed at David Luiz who conceded the penalty in the 40th minute.
Ex-Manchester United skipper Roy Keane lashed out at the Chelsea defender, who was penalised for pulling the shirt of Lucas Hernandez in the penalty area.
"It's madness really. It's a form of cheating," Keane told ITV.
"Why he's doing it is beyond me. He's lazy and he's letting his teammates down."
Chelsea will resume Premier League action when they host leaders Manchester City on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
Conte lamented the advantage handed to City, who played their Champions League fixture at home to Shakhtar Donetsk 24 hours earlier on Tuesday.
Said the Italian: "I think we are a bit penalised and, in this case, it is very important to analyse before taking these decisions, the different situations of the team.
"City played yesterday at home. We played tonight away and we will return to London around four o'clock (in the morning)." - WIRE SERVICES
OTHER GROUP C RESULT
- Qarabag 1 Roma 2