WOLVERHAMPTON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Frank Lampard never doubted Tammy Abraham would make an impact in the Premier League but has vowed to come down tough if the Chelsea striker allows his current high standards to drop.
Abraham took his tally to seven goals in the last three games with an outstanding hat-trick in his side’s emphatic 5-2 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Having struggled to make an impact in the opening two games of the Premier League campaign, the 21-year-old is justifying the faith shown in him by Lampard who has made Abraham his first-choice striker.
The Chelsea manager insisted, though, the challenge now confronting the England international is maintain his stunning start to the campaign.
“I have confidence in him, and I am prepared to give him chances, but even more now I will be tougher on him because he has shown what he can do,” said Lampard.
“The moment he wants to come off that and think that goals will drop at his feet will be the moment that he will be rested.
“It is important to make sure that he stays on his game. I have competition up there and I don’t want to down-talk Oli Giroud or Michy Batshuayi.”
Abraham, capped twice by England in international friendlies, was left out of Gareth Southgate’s most recent squad but Lampard believes the forward’s current form means he will be back in contention for a recall.
“With the way he is going it will obviously put him into that bracket without telling Gareth what to do,” added Lampard. “To score seven goals in three games and be top scorer (in the Premier League) and play with the quality of his all-round game.
“He has to keep playing at that level and he will have a great chance I’d suggest.”
Nigeria remain hopeful of persuading Abraham to switch allegiance although Lampard insisted he could offer no insight into the player’s thoughts on his international future.
“I know Tammy’s been in England squads before and I’m not surprised Nigeria would want him, but it’s a question for him,” said the manager.
Abraham struck twice before half-time after Fikayo Tomori had put Chelsea ahead and then again after the break with Mason Mount completing the win after an unfortunate Abraham own-goal and Patrick Cutrone replied for Wolves.
All three of Abraham, Mount and Tomori are graduates of the Chelsea academy and their presence in the starting line-up was further evidence of Lampard’s intention to put his faith in youth, which the manager hopes will generate its own motivation amongst his squad.
“They should aspire and feel the opportunity is there of they deserve it,” said Lampard, who claimed the door is open for more academy players to come through.
“They should see their team-mates do really well and want to get in there.
“If we are going to be successful this season then we can’t absolutely rely on the young boys, but at the minute they are doing a good job of taking the reigns.”
Wolves have just three points from their opening five games, but manager Nuno Espirito Santo denied their poor run of form is anything to do with the early start to their Europa League campaign.
“No, it (the Europa League) was a challenge we embraced from the beginning. We knew what we needed to do,” said Nuno.
“That was a bad, bad performance. We started the game well but the mistakes we made, we cannot go and repeat them.”