The Blues misfired at home to the Hammers with their manager taking some surprise decisions to try and find the breakthrough
Frank Lampard believes Christian Pulisic is capable of playing up front and has also acknowledged his support for Olivier Giroud after the Chelsea striker struggled in the 1-0 home defeat by West Ham.
Saturday’s setback was the first time Chelsea had failed to score in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season as Giroud started in the absence of the injured Tammy Abraham.
It was just Giroud’s second league start of the campaign and he failed to make an impact before being replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi as Pulisic was then moved into attack.
Pulisic has scored six goals in his last eight appearances for Chelsea and Lampard feels the United States international is an option to start in the No.9 position.
“We’ll see,” Lampard said at Stamford Bridge. “He’s got an ability to run behind the line and to be sharp in central areas, which will naturally get him more goals but I’m not going to say right now that’s the solution. We’ll see going forward.”
Giroud’s selection ahead of Michy Batshuayi was something of a surprise, although Lampard refused to put the France international’s struggles against West Ham down to a lack of match sharpness.
The Chelsea boss added: “It was a difficult game for him. He didn’t get enough of the ball and then the couple of chances he had didn’t go in for him.
“It was a tough match for him but he wasn’t the only one who came into the team and the performance was slightly off it. It was not the easiest game.
“We train hard. Some players, with the nature of how squads are in the modern game, we have to train hard to be at a level to come in. I wouldn’t want to point it to match fitness.
“Michy has had a lot of performances to come on lately and has made a difference in certain games but it was just a choice for this game.”
Pedro was another who toiled, with Lampard looking to rotate his squad amid a busy winter fixture schedule. Like Giroud, he had not started a game for the Europa League winners in months, but Lampard added that many of his regulars were also not sharp enough against the Hammers.
“I don’t want to talk about match fitness or sharpness because we’re training hard,” he said. “I get it, I was a player and when you’re not playing regularly the need for games is big. But we have to be ready to try and come in.
Lampard explains Pulisic position in West Ham defeat
“We shouldn’t isolate individuals because then you could be talking about a player who has played every game and wasn’t quite as sharp. The reasons are never quite as simple as they seem.”
Lampard is hoping that Abraham, who hurt his hip against Valencia in the Champions League, will be in contention to face Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Of the striker’s chances of facing Villa, who he impressed on loan with last season, Lampard said: “We’ll find out Monday or Tuesday. He needs to get outside and move a little bit outside over the next two days.”