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Last Updated: 30/06/20 11:15pm
Frank Lampard insists he has complete faith in Mason Mount, despite hauling the England star off at half-time in Chelsea’s FA Cup win at Leicester.
The Blues boss substituted Mount, Reece James and Billy Gilmour midway through Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
However, Lampard has moved to throw his backing behind Mount, insisting that tactical change will not affect his long-term thinking.
“Mason wouldn’t have been happy to come off at half-time,” said Lampard.
“But it should be a case of not being happy that evening and then getting straight back to it afterwards, because he knows how much I trust in him and he works brilliantly every day.
“And when I say Mason, I mean Billy (Gilmour) and Reece (James) in the same breath because they show similar attitude.
“There was no problem with Mason because it was a one-off game, I had to make a decision and it doesn’t affect my thinking for West Ham or going forwards.
“Mason played 90 minutes in both the first two games after the restart, and was unfortunate not to score or have an assist. So he had two big performances in a week.
“And then with the Leicester game Mason didn’t have a bad performance and my choices to change were more about the players I could bring into that performance as opposed to the ones that were on the pitch.
West Ham vs Chelsea
July 1, 2020, 8:00pm
“I could make a lot of changes in that game, so it was more about, ‘Can I bring some energy into the team?’
“So I rely on Mason a lot, I did at Derby, I do at Chelsea, he brings so much to the team in his work ethic and the way he can start the press in midfield.
“His quality on the ball is already at a high level and it’s only going to get better.”
‘He has to put his friendship to one side’
Mount could come face to face with friend Declan Rice when Chelsea take on West Ham on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports Main Event, with Lampard challenging the midfielder to shine in the battle for bragging rights.
“I think it spurs you on more if you have a personal relationship with an opponent either way – whether you are best friends or you don’t even like each other,” Lampard added.
“I also think the result of that is not concrete either – you will either have your best of games in that sort of circumstance but you can also become overly focused on that relationship and have a not so good game.
“They are two very good players. But there is only one thing I will ask of Mason – and from my point of view that is obviously all I care about going into this one. He texts him tonight, he smiles at him in the tunnel or whatever it is, but if and when they go up against each other he has try to beat him in every individual battle that he possibly can.
“And sensing Declan Rice’s character, I am sensing they will both be like-minded on that one. We will see.”