Chelsea manager Frank Lampard enjoyed his first Champions League victory as a manager but warned his team: “Now the hard work begins.”
A 2-1 victory away to French side Lille made up for some of the disappointment of last month’s home defeat to Valencia, and armed Chelsea with points and confidence to take into back-to-back clashes with Ajax.
Tammy Abraham, on his 22nd birthday, and Willian, making his 300th appearance for the club, got Chelsea’s goals at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Victor Osimhen netted a header from a corner to bring Lille level at one stage, and the space he found in the centre of the penalty area was a worry for Lampard.
But there were more positives than negatives from the trip to north-east France for Lampard, who captained the Blues to victory in the 2012 final of this competition.
He said: “It feels really good because this was a really hard place to come, and add to that the pressure from not beating Valencia in the first game.
“We played with three at the back and moved the ball really quickly and we got our goal.”
The equaliser irked Lampard who said: “Again, set-pieces. It’s something we know we have to improve on. We have to do better, but in terms of the game as a whole we had a lot of possession and created chances away from home.
“Set-pieces are a fact that happen in games, and games can absolutely change on them, and today did a little bit because I felt pretty comfortable in the first half, so we must work maybe more than we are already and turn that corner.”
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“It’ll be really tough and now Ajax have set their stall out, they’ve started the group really well,” Lampard told BT Sport.
“To be on zero points after one game is one thing; to come away tonight against a tough team knowing that every game is going to be tough would have been another.
“It gives us confidence, it gives us points, it gives us a feeling in the group that we’re in a better position, but now the hard work begins. Every game is going to be really tough. We have a double-header with Ajax who are playing well so it’s on us.”