LONDON: Frank Lampard admitted he was relieved to finally earn his first home Premier League win as Chelsea manager after goals from Jorginho and Willian sealed a 2-0 victory against Brighton on Saturday.
Lampard had presided over two draws and a defeat in the league at Stamford Bridge since the Blues legend was hired from Derby in the close-season.
A League Cup thrashing of minnows Grimsby in midweek was Lampard’s only win on home turf until Jorginho’s second half penalty broke Brighton’s resistance.
Willian bagged the second goal to guarantee Chelsea that avoided failing to win their opening four home league matches for the first time since 1986-87.
“The home games have been frustrating for different reasons, so today is a nice one. You are aware of it. You want to win,” Lampard said.
“You could almost feel the frustration at half-time because we hadn’t put the ball in the net. Hopefully this gives everyone confidence.
“Because of the no wins here you fear the worst, but there was a different feel today. I felt the goal was coming and the penalty was the moment.”
Chelsea’s third league win this season was just reward for a dominant display that backed Lampard’s belief his raw team can challenge for a top four finish.
Giving further encouragement to Lampard, the Blues kept a clean-sheet for the first time in 10 games in all competitions this term.
“We’ve been waiting for it. We hadn’t put together a full 90 minutes. Today it was a good performance, solid, professional.
“We lacked more goals because we created enough chances, but we got the clean-sheet we were striving for.”
Brighton have now lost all nine league meetings with Chelsea, setting a new Football League record for most games played against one opponent with a 100 percent losing record.
Graham Potter’s team are winless in six league matches and sit just above the relegation zone.
Chelsea were without N’Golo Kante after he complained of a hamstring niggle following training on Friday, but the France midfielder wasn’t missed in this one-sided encounter.
“I spoke to N’Golo about it. I didn’t want to take the risk today. He could have a chance for Lille (in the Champions League on Wednesday),” Lampard said.
Chelsea’s dynamic young duo combined early on as Tammy Abraham hit the far post with a glancing header from Mason Mount’s inswinging free-kick.
– Leader Jorginho –
Despite their bright start, Chelsea would have been behind against the run of play if Kepa Arrizabalaga hadn’t alertly raced off his line to save Neal Maupay’s shot on the edge of the area.
Jorginho’s pin-point lofted pass picked out Pedro’s run, but the Spaniard shot straight at Ryan.
Chelsea needed just five minutes to make their pressure pay off after half-time thanks to Brighton’s suicidal over-playing in defence.
Adam Webster was the guilty party with a miscued back-pass inside his own area that Mount seized on, provoking a clear foul by the panicked Albion defender.
Ross Barkley had missed from the spot in Chelsea’s recent Champions League defeat against Valencia and it was no surprise that Jorginho resumed penalty duties, the Italy midfielder slotting home his first league goal of the season with ease.
“Jorginho is a leader in his personality. Whatever happened last season, I wasn’t here,” Lampard said of a player criticised by Chelsea fans last term.
“People can make judgements, but what I see on the pitch and in the dressing room, he wants to win. He is the penalty taker, end of story!”
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, back from a ruptured Achilles, came on for his first league appearance since April.
Brighton were inches away from equalising when Dan Burn flicked a header against the post.
But Willian wrapped up the points in the 76th minute when he burst onto Hudson-Odoi’s pass and drilled a powerful effort that deflected off Burn’s foot and beat Ryan at his near post.