December 2, 2020 11:01:45 PM
Frank Lampard has hailed Olivier Giroud as “the ultimate professional” in the wake of his four-goal Champions League salvo at Sevilla.
France striker Giroud notched a perfect hat-trick then added a penalty as Chelsea sealed top spot in Group E with a game to spare by thrashing Sevilla 4-0 in Spain.
Giroud’s left-foot, right-foot and headed goals sealed that perfect treble, before the 34-year-old dispatched a nerveless spot-kick at the death.
Former Arsenal man Giroud could seek a January move away from Chelsea to gain more regular football, having slipped behind Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner in Chelsea’s pecking order.
Blues boss Lampard has been at pains to express just how important the he remains at Chelsea however, and again offered the highest compliments in light of his latest goal-scoring exploits.
“He is the ultimate professional, and I think he’s done that through his career,” said Lampard.
“I think that’s why with Oli you see his numbers for France and in the Champions League.
“He wasn’t always a regular before I got here, but as soon as I came in I could feel the positivity off him as a player, how he wants to train, how he wants to affect people whether he starts or not.
“And he’s started a lot for us now and been very impactful in terms of how he was in restart and performances like tonight.
“So he’s a great sign for younger players and for other players when they are not always playing in the squad of 20-plus we have that happens of course.
“So they keep training well, and when they come in they perform like they did tonight.
“That was a really, really complete performance in the circumstances tonight.”
Chelsea will host Leeds on Saturday in a return to Premier League action, when Giroud will rightly expect to start having fired four goals in Spain.
Abraham and £53million summer recruit Werner have been the more regular striking options in the top-flight this term.
World Cup-winner Giroud now boasts 44 goals for France and remains determined to head to Euro 2021 as Les Bleus’ premier striking option.
Lampard is well aware that Giroud needs regular action to keep France boss Didier Deschamps happy, and conceded that he would be hard pressed not to start Giroud against Leeds.
Asked if it would be tough to leave out Giroud against Leeds, Lampard said: “Yes, and that’s what you ask I suppose, when you make nine changes.
“I always say when I pick the team I try to pick the best team for the game, and not to have favourites as such.
“You try to put the best team on paper, but when players play like they did today they give you a great problem.
“It’s having a top player playing with quality and playing with dedication.
“It was an amazing performance from Oli, to score four goals at this level, Champions League level, against a really good opponent.
“The individual quality of all his goals, I know the last was a penalty, but the team quality and his individual input, rightly he gets a standing ovation as he comes off the pitch. And I’m delighted for him.”