Frank Lampard’s thoughts were pretty clear on Saturday. To come to Old Trafford and keep a clean sheet was a victory in of itself.

"I'm happy with the clean sheet,” he told Sky Sports after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United. “We want more than a point obviously, but to come to Manchester United and not concede that is a great base.”

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Lampard has had some tough questions to answer over the past few weeks. He has watched his team produce shambolic defensive displays against the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, without which they might well be higher up the Premier League table.

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 24, 2020.

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His team conceded more league goals than any other top ten side last season and the early indications this time around suggested that he hadn’t learnt his lesson. These were mistakes that could have been forgiven in a manager’s debut Premier League campaign (and with a transfer ban) but after how much Chelsea spent this summer they would no longer be tolerated.

So it is certainly a positive for Lampard that his team have kept out Sevilla and United in successive matches but no-one could have failed to notice the sudden problems in attack. Lampard himself touched on this in Saturday’s post-match interview.

"A game of this level, when you get in the final third you want to make things happen and that didn't happen for us today so there are things to improve.” The Chelsea boss said.

"It's not a beautiful feeling in the dressing room, it's not, as we want to be better going forward. But I'm less concerned about the attacking side as I know the talent we have here, but the clean sheet is good."

So the question now is how can Lampard keep the defensive solidity but give his team a bit more verve in attack?

Frank Lampard the head coach / manager of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 24, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom

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Against United Lampard moved to three at the back, so by nature of that particular formation a defensive addition comes in by sacrificing an attacking player. However against Sevilla Lampard utilised a back four and deployed Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Timo Werner, yet still drew a blank.

So what’s the solution?

Well on the face of it Lampard isn’t doing too much wrong. Leaving out Mount against United might have been a slightly negative tactic but Havertz, Pulisic and Werner all started. Plus by playing a three centrally it allowed Reece James and Ben Chilwell far more license to maraud forward.

Chelsea's Reece James celebrates

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Let’s start there though, James and Chilwell are both excellent crossers of the ball, two of the best in the league in fact. Yet so often the pair are crossing too early, when often it’s just Werner in the box. It’s something for Lampard to consider even though you would expect things to improve as the full-backs develop better chemistry with the new attacking signings. The full-backs need to hold off for a little longer, it will give the two forwards alongside Werner a chance to populate the box. The other issue of course is that Lampard appears to have settled on Jorginho and N’Golo Kante as a central partnership. That means plenty of ball control and defensive work-rate but less attacking impetus.

The wildcard here is Mount. Last season he was Chelsea’s fifth highest scorer in the Premier League with seven goals. If he can take a step forward and produce more consistently that might be the key for Lampard. Of course the problem now is that in order to accommodate the £70 million man Havertz Lampard’s former favourite Mount is being shifted out wide, or even to the bench. Could Lampard look to include Mount as part of a 4-3-3 instead? If Mount just plays the same side as Havertz they can work together with their movement to ensure that full-back is never too overloaded whilst Pulisic can take the other flank. It might mean however that Mount is able to get into more scoring positions.

Liverpool duo Fabinho and Thiago against Mason Mount of Chelsea

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One other thing Lampard might want to look at his usage of Pulisic since the American’s return from injury. Pulisic’s situation was serious but already Lampard is using him for 70-80 minutes. It’s part of a wider trend that sees Lampard generally make substitutions later rather than sooner. That’s not necessarily the biggest issue but it would certainly be easier for players like Tammy Abraham or Callum Hudson-Odoi if they had twenty minutes to change the game rather than ten.

Of course the elephants in the room are Werner and Havertz. Costing well over £100 million the pair have three league goals between them. Last season they netted 40 between them in the Bundesliga, statistics that persuaded Chelsea to shell out for them. It’s still very early days of course, and they had no real pre-season lest we forget, but the lack of goals will eventually start to become a concern.

Perhaps the solution is that Lampard actually doesn’t need to do anything too major. Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy have given the defence more structure and surely it is only a matter of time before the attack clicks? After all, Chelsea scored 17 goals in the five matches preceding the two goalless draws. Moreover when you include the Blues’ solitary friendly they have only just hit ten games on the season. They now don’t play a “elite” team until Spurs come to Stamford Bridge at the end of November. If we find ourselves still questioning Lampard’s balancing act at that stage then it certainly will be time to hit the panic button…

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