Raheem Sterling has ‘credit in the bank’ at Chelsea, says Frank Lampard

Raheem Sterling has ‘credit in the bank’ at Chelsea, says Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard hailed Raheem Sterling’s “individual brilliance” after the Chelsea forward made the most of his “credit in the bank” to hit a brace in their 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea earned the entertaining home draw at Stamford Bridge as both Sterling and Taiwo Awoniyi hit doubles for a result that failed to fully please either set of fans.

Forest remain just three points above the drop zone, while Chelsea stay 11th and are staring a first bottom-half finish since the mid-1990s in the face.

“They’re small steps forward”, Lampard said about Sterling’s goals, which took his tally to six Premier League goals for the season.

“Raheem is a player that has the credit in the bank [in] that he’s been a regular goal scorer in the Premier League and for his country. To see him score there, that’s Raheem — arriving for a cross and then individual brilliance. I’m very happy for him.

“It’s what we need at the top end of the pitch. Raheem has done it and he’s done it again. You need to win games when you have 76 per cent possession and you need killers at the top end of the pitch and Raheem has proven to be that. At the moment, we do not have enough of that.”

Lampard was left very disappointed by the way defenders Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva were beaten for Awoniyi’s first goal and then Badiashile again lost in the air for his second.

He said: “The defensive goals you give away when you’re not really conceding many chances in the game, the long throw is the second one. They can happen. It’s not something where training affected it. You don’t spend all week recreating that moment because that can happen.

“What I’m more disappointed about is [that] we lost 45 minutes in the game where we had all of the control but we weren’t doing the things we were talking about before the game. It’s not good to play at 60 or 70 per cent in the last third. The last third has to be 100 per cent, it has to be repetitive. That’s not something that can change overnight.”

Edouard Mendy came in between the posts, with Kepa Arrizabalaga dropped, and it was Mendy’s first match for club or country since England knocked his Senegal side out of the 2022 World Cup last winter. Like the two centre-backs, Mendy was caught in no man’s land as Awoniyi put Forest ahead after 13 minutes.

“We’ve got two good goalkeepers”, Lampard insisted. “Edou has been training well and Kepa has been playing really well. In this situation we’re in, to give Edou a game today was no problem. It’s not for me to say, ‘one level is here and one level is there’. He’s a goalkeeper we trust so he started.”

Chelsea have three tough fixtures before the end of their poor season. They face Manchester City next Sunday, before completing the campaign with matches against Manchester United and Newcastle.