Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusty Frank Makes Performance Promise

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusty Frank Makes Performance Promise

Article excerpt

Leyton Orient 0 Chelsea 2

CHELSEA midfielder Frank Lampard admitted he is short of match fitness after making his debut for the Blues in an unconvincing win over Third Division side Leyton Orient.

Goals in each half from Mario Stanic and Jesper Gronkjaer were enough to clinch victory at the Matchroom Stadium, but were not enough to conceal Chelsea's rusty performance.

Lampard, who made an [pound]11 million move to Chelsea from West Ham in June, only played the first 45 minutes and struggled to make an impact.

Playing in midfield alongside Yugoslav Slovisa Jokanovic, the 23-year-old had only one effort of note on the Orient goal when his 25-yard shot flew just over.

But Lampard insists he will be ready to hit peak form when Chelsea play their opening Premiership fixture against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on 19 August.

Lampard said: "It was exciting wearing a blue shirt for the first time, it has been a long wait to get a run out.

"I have only had two-and-a-half weeks of training and having missed the back end of last season through injury, it is a case of playing games to get fit.

"I am about 60-70 per cent fit now, but with every preseason match I will get a bit stronger and expect within three weeks it will all come together."

Manager Claudio Ranieri had practically a full first team squad to choose from with only Emmanuel Petit, who has not started preseason training yet, and the injured Roberto Di Matteo, noticeable by their absence.

But despite the presence of players of the calibre of Jimmy Floyd Hassel-baink and French international defender Marcel Desailly, Chelsea looked flustered at times.

Orient striker Steve Watts, who has just signed a new three-year contract with the club, caused the Chelsea defence problems early on.

But a horrendous blunder by defender Matt Lockwood on 26 minutes gifted Chelsea the lead and Stanic's first goal in a blue shirt for nearly a year.

Lockwood, who only returned from a trial with Millwall on their tour of Germany on Monday, failed to control a Jody Morris cross and Stanic had an easy task of steering the ball past Scott Barrett. …

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