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Frank Lampard says some context is needed on Kai Havertz’s early struggles at Chelsea as he backed the attacking midfielder to show his “undoubted talent” once he had fully settled down.
The German international has struggled to transfer the form he displayed at Bayer Leverkusen since joining Chelsea in a £ 72 million (€ 80 million) deal in September.
Havertz has just one goal and one assist in 14 Premier League appearances and has been named among the substitutes in the Blues’ last three outings.
However, Lampard insists the 21-year-old is still on the mend after moving to a new country, a period of adaptation that didn’t help after being brought down by the coronavirus earlier in the season.
“Just when Kai was coming to terms with the Premier League and he had some really good performances with us, he got COVID and he had it pretty bad as I think people are really starting to open up now,” Lampard said.
“I have read some things recently about how much people can suffer now. Some people are asymptomatic.
“He has definitely had some physical consequences with that and I talk to him a lot and we know it. It is something we are trying to help you deal with.
“The expectation around him, you have to put context in the story. Kai’s talent is undoubted. I see that every day. Giving him time to adjust to the Premier League and our team is essential.
Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 5, 2020
“We’ve seen players come here in the past, they didn’t really adapt, they went elsewhere and came back to the Premier League and left it at absolutely incredible levels.
“I’m not trying to compare Kai directly to that, but there are a lot of stories in the Premier League, not just Chelsea.
“I have full faith in him. We need to give him that time, particularly due to the COVID situation, that is a problem. That is not a problem, it is a problem that is related beyond his illness.”
Havertz has created 10 chances in his 14 top flight appearances this period at a rate of 1.1 per 90 minutes, placing him behind fellow attackers Mason Mount (2.4), Callum Hudson-Odoi (2.7) and Hakim Ziyech (2.8).
Meanwhile, he averages just 0.9 shots per 90 minutes, which is 14th on Chelsea’s player roster, behind even midfielder Jorginho (1.1) and winger Reece James (1.3).
That’s in stark contrast to his impressive numbers in the Bundesliga when he scored a record 17 goals, the most in a single season for a teenager, in 2018-19 and followed with 12 more last season, plus six assists. .
And Lampard is aware of the demands that come with making a high-profile move, having taken the time to get going at Chelsea after a £ 11 million trade from rivals West Ham in the early part of his playing career.
“Transferring leagues to a game that is fast and physical week after week, every three days is a big question and not something that should be expected just because we pay this amount for you or you are international or your age or how many goals and assists you did”, said.
“Nothing can be taken for granted in that sense. I thought with Kai anyway and he was there to help him, he was there to help him when he arrived. I was excited to take on that challenge with him or how this league is going to be different.
“Let’s see how you can adapt because your talents are going to be different in a really positive way and they will help us. The only thing I know as a coach is what I can trust is my personal experience when reflected lightly.
“I know I had to do extra work myself. Kai is different from me. Particularly with the recoil of COVID. Now we have to give him time to do the extra work now and it will make him stronger in the end. And remember, he is a young player and he needs time ”.