Frank Lampard believes Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is “getting better with age” and insists he will get more first-team action after scoring the winner against Rennes.
The 34-year-old striker has hardly featured for Chelsea this season and it has been reported that he will be allowed to leave in January.
But he showed his worth on Tuesday as he came off the bench and headed home a late winner to book Chelsea’s place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
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Lampard has preferred Tammy Abraham to Giroud this season but says he hopes the veteran striker is content with his role.
"I think Oli knows, even when he hasn’t played all the time, how much I am happy with him and that I rely on him in big moments,” said Lampard.
"Every player wants to play every game, that’s an impossible part of my job to keep them all happy. Hopefully he knows and is content. He got minutes, he came on today and there will be games he starts for us as well. .
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"It’s a selection issue for me and I need that. The fact is we are playing every three days, maybe two days over Christmas unless the scheduling gets sorted.
"For him to get a goal, you saw the reaction of his team-mates, he's so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn't even a factor for him.
He's getting better with age if anything in terms of how he looks after himself. So he offers a lot for us and I keep saying it but the big schedule coming up and the way we play means I will rely on players.
"So thankfully for me he's a player that always keeps the right attitude if he's not playing regularly, and I know when I call upon him that he comes in as he did today."
Lampard was also impressed with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who produced a solid display against his former club.
“I am very happy with him. It is not easy to come and play against your old team-mates and the old stadium you played so well for. But in the game Edou has looked very calm, like he has done from the first minute that he has arrived at Chelsea.
"His personality behind the scenes is great, he is very comfortable with his team-mates already. Most importantly his performance levels have been very high, he continued that today and I can’t say any more than I am I really happy with him in all senses.”