Mason Mount can be an inspiration to Chelsea stars struggling for form, according to head coach Frank Lampard.
The England midfielder made the difference on Saturday as the Blues recorded just their second victory in seven Premier League games.
Mount struck the only goal in the 1-0 win over 10-man Fulham, a result that leaves them five points outside the top four.
The 22-year-old has mostly been in top form amid a mixed season for Chelsea, in which expensive signings such as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have failed to impress.
Lampard believes plenty in his squad could learn from Mount’s example.
“I keep talking about him a lot, and his work ethic in training is one of those reasons, he keeps his standards high in training every day. There are things that other players can look at with Mason,” he told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Leicester City.
Lampard on Friday: ‘Mason can score more goals from that position.’
Mount on Saturday: pic.twitter.com/NL4sixNGd6
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2021
“And at the same time it’s clear when you’re in a difficult patch individually or collectively you have to fight and play your way out of it, so you rely on players around you doing their job.
“Mason’s doing it at the minute, but we’ve got lots of players like that in forward areas, we just need a kick-start from them, we need to see some numbers, production from the front end of the pitch.
“You look around the Premier League and you see teams that have been successful generally or in good runs have people at the top end of the pitch that are firing and scoring and assisting, and we’ve been a bit short of that recently, but it will come back.
“The players have to fight their way back through those little periods or patches, and at the moment Mason is a good example of someone that’s always fighting, and is playing really well.”
Lampard also dismissed any lingering critics of Mount, saying: “I’m not sure how anybody could really criticise him of late.
“Mason’s type, the type of midfield player he is, he does so much great work for the team off the ball, which I think for the naked eye is not as exciting as an overhead kick or treble step-over.
“He does all those basics well, he moves the ball so quickly, he’s a great team-mate, we’ve seen recently he scores goals, he finds assists, he does all those things so I don’t think it matters if people are critical in any way.
“One thing he has got as well is a really great attitude. He has a really great way of seeming like he is never perturbed by critics outside. The critics are wrong. There is no doubt about that.
“Anyone who knows football and watches Mason Mount play understands what an incredible talent he is. He’s just turned 22. Imagine when he’s 25, imagine when he’s 27. The critics don’t matter when it comes to Mason.”
11 – Mason Mount’s opener was the 11th goal Chelsea have scored in the final 15 minutes of Premier League matches this season; no side has netted more in this time period in the competition in 2020-21 (level with Leicester City). Breakthrough. pic.twitter.com/WhAgFGwH6B
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 16, 2021
The win at Fulham was another frustrating outing for Werner, who missed a clear-cut chance to make the points safe in the closing moments.
The former RB Leipzig striker has scored four times in 18 Premier League games and just once in his past 13 outings in all competitions, in the 4-0 FA Cup win over League Two side Morecambe.
Werner’s struggles have seen him compared to Fernando Torres, who endured a difficult time at Stamford Bridge after moving from Liverpool, but Lampard said: “I don’t want to compare him to anybody.
“Everybody’s story is different. Fernando Torres had difficult times here and came away winning the Champions League so I don’t think we should compare too much.
“All we need to do here at the moment, Timo, myself and team-mates around him, is to create the best environment to get the best out of Timo, which means himself working hard.
“Any striker knows – when you see the chances he missed the other day that’s just repetition on the training ground. Everybody will go through those moments whether you repeat it a thousand times or not. But when you are in that moment you must repeat and keep working.
“He also needs support around him. He needs to keep his head up and focus and my job is to support around him and give him positivity and confidence. Timo Werner didn’t by chance score the amount of goals of the last few seasons. He scored those goals because of his huge talent.
“A tough time for him at the moment is a small period in what I believe will be a fantastic career for him going forward at Chelsea. I’ve got no doubts about that. I hope people around him can also see it that way.”