Abraham scores first Champions League goal on 22nd birthday as Chelsea win in Europe for the first time under Frank Lampard
Thursday 3 October 2019 16:59, UK
Frank Lampard has challenged Tammy Abraham to continue delivering the goals after the Chelsea striker scored his first Champions League goal in Wednesday's victory at Lille.
After their defeat at home to Valencia on Matchday 1, Chelsea got off the mark in Group H with a 2-1 victory over the Ligue 1 side - Lampard's first in the competition as a manager.
Abraham got Chelsea off to the perfect start, marking his 22nd birthday with a 22nd-minute opener at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy - his eighth goal of the season.
"Tammy's performance was more of the same of what we are seeing," Lampard said in his post-match press conference.
"He's hungry for goals, physical, gives everything for the team, has quality with the ball at his feet and, while there's improvement to be had, he's showing that.
"It's competitive, the minute Tammy's levels drop then we will look to [Olivier] Giroud or [Michy] Batshuayi to see if they are pushing him and if they can come in and make a difference.
"But at this moment in time, Tammy is doing really well. That's his first Champions League goal and hopefully we will see many more and performances like this."
Abraham's opener in northern France was cancelled out by Lille's own promising striker, 20-year-old Victor Osimhen, who took his tally to seven goals for the Ligue 1 club this season.
But with Chelsea on the verge of drawing the game, Willian popped up with a stunning volley to claim three points on his 300th appearance for the club.
"There's a long way to go in this group," Lampard added. "Having lost to Valencia, it put more importance on this game.
"It's such a tough place, anyone in the stadium would have felt that. The roof was on, the crowd were up for it, the speed in their team on the counter-attack was evident, something we knew we had to be ready for, and I thought our performance was really good.
"We controlled a lot of the earlier periods, got our goal. Set pieces are a problem for us, we need to keep working on that even more, but the chances we created away from home, the amount of possession meant that we deserved to win."
Sky Sports' Peter Smith...
With Gareth Southgate set to name his squad for England's Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria on Thursday, Tammy Abraham picked the perfect time to score his first Champions League goal and remind the national team boss of his fine finishing ability.
Abraham hasn't featured for England since playing in friendlies against Germany and Brazil in 2017 and is also eligible for Nigeria. An appearance in either of England's upcoming qualifiers would end that uncertainty and the 22-year-old's form warrants an opportunity.
The striker has seven Premier League goals already this season, including a hat-trick at Wolves, and his smart control and clinical finish against Lille underlined the danger he poses in the opposition's box. With Marcus Rashford out of sorts and reportedly struggling with injury, now could be an ideal opportunity for Southgate to make room in his squad and give Abraham his shot.