Football

Four-goal Olivier Giroud the ultimate professional: Lampard

Chelsea's youngsters should look up to Olivier Giroud as a shining example of professionalism, manager Frank Lampard said after the Frenchman plundered four goals in their 4-0 Champions League demolition of hosts Sevilla yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Giroud, who has struggled for game time at Stamford Bridge this season, made the most of a rare start with a sizzling display which left his boss purring.

"He is the ultimate professional," Lampard said after Chelsea secured top spot in Group E with a match to spare.

"He isn't always a regular but his performances have shown that he is a great sign for young players to keep training well."

Both sides had already qualified for the last 16 and Lampard took the chance to rest the likes of Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Hakim Ziyech.

Giroud grabbed his chance too, by scoring with his left foot, right foot and head for the perfect hat-trick, and added a penalty for good measure.

"I didn't know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick, when I scored (a treble) against (Dynamo) Kiev in (the) Europa League, I said 'What do you mean?' It was good, I had good assists though," Giroud said. "I will try to carry on like that."

At 34 years and 63 days, Giroud became the oldest player to bag a Champions League hat-trick and also the oldest to do it in the European Cup since Ferenc Puskas did so for Real Madrid against Feyenoord in 1965.

Speaking on BT Sport, former Chelsea winger Joe Cole believes Giroud is in the form of his life, saying: "His movement tonight was exceptional... We might even be seeing the best version of Olivier Giroud... we've all been guilty of under-appreciating him in England."

Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley believes Giroud should stay in the starting XI for the English Premier League match against Leeds United on Sunday morning.

"Abraham's done well, but the experience and quality and not just that the finishes that he produced tonight, I say Giroud at the weekend and I think he's nailed it tonight," Burley told ESPN FC.

When asked if he was expecting to start against Leeds, Giroud said: "Let me enjoy the night and... we will see what the gaffer's plan is." - AFP, REUTERS

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