New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says his side won’t be judged by the standard set by his all-conquering side, but he does expect them to match that team’s tireless work ethic.
If that sounds like an old-school value, it’s increasingly important in the modern game where pampered surroundings disguise that which separates the top teams — often just hard work.
Quite what he’ll make, then, of his team being held by part-time Bohemians in their opening pre-season game is another matter, but may show him just how much work is to be done.
The squad have been at Carton House since Friday, where they’ve mingled with fans between double sessions, but in Bohs they faced a team in the middle of their season.
Dalymount, with its bumpy pitch and condemned stands, was a relic in the previous era, let alone today, but it’s the perfect place for Lampard to watch his team outside their comfort zone.
“What I tried to do last year at Derby, and what we will try to do this season, is have an aggressive team with energy, bravery on the ball and ability to move the ball quickly,” said Lampard. “I have huge respect for the teams at the top of the league. I look at Man City and Liverpool to see the speed of their game and that is the speed I want from my team. Workrate is important for me and that starts on the training pitch. I realised that even more last season being on this side of the fence.”
There were few of such qualities on show in the first half at Dalymount — Chelsea had plenty possession but energy, workrate,and bravery on the ball were lacking.
They took an early lead in fortuitous circumstances as Kenedy, who struggled at left-back against the impressive Luke Ward-Slater, saw his shot deflect into the path of Michy Batshuayi.
The striker, one of several players coming back into contention as a result of Chelsea’s transfer ban, easily beat James Talbot from six yards.
Bohs had gone close within two minutes through Danny Mandroiu before Ryan Graydon set up E Andre Wright to strike inches wide.
A driving run from Mandroiu ended with a well-struck effort which forced Willy Caballero into a fine diving stop.
Lampard made 11 changes at the break and the injection of a new spark was apparent as Talbot pulled off two stunning saves inside 10 minutes to deny Billy Gilmour and Tiemoué Bakayoko.
The intensity didn’t last, and Bohs dominated the final half hour and got the equaliser they deserved a minute from time. Fourteen-year-old sub Evan Ferguson and Keith Ward had gone close before Ward played in Eric Molloy, via Ferguson’s step-over, to smash home at the near post.
BOHEMIANS: Talbot (Bohan 80); Pender (Kirk 59), Finnerty (Kelly 85), Barker (Byrne 85), Leahy (Funge 87); Buckley (Allardice 59), McCourt (Levingston 59), Mandroiu (Ward 46); Wade-Slater (Devoy 46 (Molloy 80)), Graydon (Devaney 59), Wright (Ferguson 67).
CHELSEA: Caballero (Cumming 46); Sterling (Zappacosta 46), Azpilicueta (Chalobah 46), Guehi (Zouma 46), Kenedy (Maatsen 46); Drinkwater (Bakayoko 46), Ampadu (Baker 46), Gallagher (Gilmour 46); Palmer (Brown 46), Pedro (Piazon 46), Batshuayi (Ugbo 46).