Chelsea coach tips Frank Lampard for lead role in the race for the Premier League title

25 March 2011 02:14
Frank Lampard can again prove 'devastating' for Chelsea as they look to have a say in the destiny of the Barclays Premier League crown, according to assistant first team coach Michael Emenalo.

The 32-year-old is, along with Blues skipper John Terry and full-back Ashley Cole, set to feature for England against Wales in tomorrow's Euro 2012 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Lampard has started to come into his own in recent weeks following a frustrating spell on the sidelines, first after a hernia operation and then a leg muscle injury.

It has coincided with a shift in both formation and fortune for the Blues, who have moved safely into the quarter-finals of the Champions League and won the last three Premier League games - including against leaders Manchester United and top four rivals Manchester City.

Leading by example: Lampard could prove pivotal in Chelsea's revival

Emenalo is in no doubt of the impact made by Lampard, who has netted four goals in his last six appearances.

'When Frank Lampard was injured we said he needed to take his time to come back because he's such an important player for us.

'What people don't understand is that Frank is our best playmaker and his statistics are outstanding over the last few seasons.

'Forty per cent of the goals we score as a team come through him in some way - he is devastating in the final third and not only because he can score, but he can play the final pass.

'He creates a lot of things, so it's good to have him back,' Emenalo told the club's official website.

Please be seated: Emenalo (right) with Ancelotti on the Chelsea bench

Emenalo added: 'This position in the 4-4-2 actually suits him, and what he does is temper his run forward a little bit more, because he has less cover behind him now.

'We missed him, and we needed players like him or Michael Essien, who can make mistakes, but recover from them.

'That's what big players do, dig deep and come back from bad situations.

'World-class players don't grow on trees and I am not surprised Frank has been able to return and adjust so easily.'

Much has been made of the way Carlo Ancelotti sets up his team, particularly during what was one of Chelsea's worst run in recent memory.

Didier Drogba started on the bench against City as Salomon Kalou was deployed in attack alongside Fernando Torres, who has yet to score since his ?50million move from Liverpool.

Finding his feet: Torres has yet to find the net since his move to Chelsea

However, Emenalo feels the Blues can utilise the best of every squad member by what have proven to be relatively minor tactical changes.

'Carlo looked over the situation with the players we have and at what was lacking, and in his past when he has been in these situations, he decided the best way to attack this situation was to get a very good defensive base from which to work,' the Nigerian said.

'As a result we've gone to 4-4-2 which gives a balanced defensive core, but we have quality players who can do different things and we are able to manipulate it a little bit, with Ramires on the right and Florent Malouda or Yury Zhirkov on the left.

'We can create width on one side and a certain level of compactness from the right, meaning we don't get overrun even if we send people forward and it can become a central three in midfield when we are defending.

On the double: Luiz celebrates his second goal in Chelsea colours

'It means we can stay strong in transition because a lot of times when people play 4-4-2 they use two wide players who go forward and they have problems in transition, or play 4-4-1-1, limiting the players they have going forward and often becoming a 4-5-1.

'On our left side we also have a very attacking full-back in Ashley Cole, and it helps that when David Luiz plays he gets involved and becomes a playmaker.

'The experience of the manager has helped tremendously because we have been able to come through and look strong again.'

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Source: Daily_Mail