Batshuayi's winner reward for patience, says elated Chelsea boss Lampard

Michy Batshuayi secured three points for Chelsea at Ajax and Frank Lampard heaped praise on his striker, while Erik Ten Hag said his side was sloppy.

Michy Batshuayi celebrates with his Chelsea teammates after scoring against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.   -  Getty Images

Frank Lampard believes Michy Batshuayi's match-winning moment in Chelsea's 1-0 triumph at Ajax was just reward for the patience he has shown this season.

The Belgium striker hammered home from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic's assist with four minutes remaining at Johan Cruyff ArenA to snatch a potentially priceless three points in Champions League Group H.

Batshuayi replaced Lampard's first-choice striker Tammy Abraham, who had been mainly subdued, and had already missed a great chance before thumping in Chelsea's winner.

"The fact Christian Pulisic comes on in the last two games and gets two assists, changes games, I thought his performance was outstanding for 25 minutes or whatever it was," Lampard told BT Sport. 

"And Michy, the great thing about the strikers I've got is that, even though Tammy has been scoring for me, the other two stayed patient, worked hard, supported the group and they've got talent.

"So, it was a choice to bring Michy on because of how mobile he can be and he's waited for his moment and he fully deserved his moment there."

READ| Ajax 0-1 Chelsea: Batshuayi late show earns huge win for Blues

Chelsea has now won consecutive away Champions League matches for the first time since 2013 and sits level with Ajax on six points after three matches.

There were a couple of near misses for the Blues, with Quincy Promes having a goal ruled out for a narrow offside call and Edson Alvarez seeing a header hit the post.

"It was our mistake [that led to Ajax's offside goal] and that's why the Champions League is what it is, that's why it's the ultimate because, in a tiny second, if you switch off, it can go against you," Lampard added. 

"But we deserved our luck, I think. I'm a big believer in that, in how you prepare what you're doing with the input out there, you deserve that little break. 

"We haven't had many VAR breaks this season anyway so I suppose it might have been coming, you make your own luck on that one and the one that hits the post. 

"But I thought, for such a creative side that they are, we didn't have Kepa [Arrizabalaga] under many problems and we did have a lot of moments for us in the box where, had we been better, we could have scored more."

Batshuayi was delighted with his strike but was keen for the focus to be on the team effort.

"I think all the team worked hard," he said. "It's good to win, to get three points. I know [I scored the winner] but the important thing is the three points tonight."

- TEN HAG RUES 'SLOPPY' AJAX SHOWING IN LATE CHELSEA DEFEAT -

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag rued "sloppy" play from his side in Wednesday's late defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag felt there was nothing to split the teams but acknowledged his side were perhaps not quite at its best.   -  Getty Images

 

It was a tough defeat for Ajax given Quincy Promes had a goal ruled out for the narrowest of offside calls and Edson Alvarez hit the post at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Ten Hag felt there was nothing to split the teams but acknowledged his side were perhaps not quite at their best.

"It was an equal match in which we were the closest to a goal for a long time," he said in quotes reported by ad.nl.

"Top matches are decided on details and we didn't look good at that goal. I sometimes found our play was sloppy. The disappointment is huge. We were equal."

Ten Hag refused to be critical of Promes' tight VAR call, adding: "It is ultimately up to the video referee."

Centre-back Daley Blind felt a draw would have been a fairer reflection of a tight game.

"We were sloppy at times," he said. "We can blame ourselves because that is something we are normally very strong at.

"It was a struggle and we fought. Chelsea are a top team and we didn't make it easy for them. It was a 0-0 match. That result would have been more appropriate I think."

  Dugout videos