On Tuesday night Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score a late winner against Rennes and ensure the club’s earliest promotion to the Champions League last 16 in the last 10 years, following Chelsea boss Frank Lampard praised the Frenchman.
In recent weeks Giroud has dominated the Chelsea headlines due to his lack of playtime and questions about what it means for the Euro 2020 chances next season. But with a stunning jump and header, he demonstrated what he gave the Blues to win what had been a difficult contest.
Speaking ahead of the game, Lampard has already clarified that it is his plan to grant Giroud opportunities this season and retain the 34-year-old at Stamford Bridge.
But after the final whistle, he repeated that stance and lauded Giroud’s influence on the game.
“That was great from him. Not only that but his hold-up play when he came on, his physicality,” Lampard said in a post-match interview with BT Sport.
“I have selection issues because I have Tammy [Abraham] who is playing well, and Oli who always contributes in that way with that professionalism and was incredible in ‘Restart’. I have two players in a similar position fighting for a place, but that’s a good problem.”
“Oli will get his minutes, he will start matches because we have a busy schedule. You see such a reaction around the goal not only because it was a last-minute winner but because it was Oli, who acts like he does every day. It shows what he means to this team.”