July 19, 2020 / 9:21 PM / 15 days ago

Soccer-Lampard rewarded for faith shown in Giroud

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - French striker Olivier Giroud received glowing praise from Chelsea manager Frank Lampard after his opening goal sent his side on the way to a 3-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Sunday.

The 33-year-old has often been reduced to cameo roles since leaving Arsenal to join Chelsea in 2018, but Lampard has shown great faith in him this season and has been rewarded with eight goals in 21 appearances.

Giroud now has the chance to pocket a fifth FA Cup winners’ medal after three triumphs with Arsenal and then being part of the Chelsea team that won the trophy in 2017-18.

“He sets an amazing example. At the beginning of the season, Tammy (Abraham) was playing well and Oli didn’t have many opportunities,” Lampard, whose side will face Arsenal in the final on Aug. 1, told reporters.

“He kept training. In January he could have left, he had the most positive attitude possible. When I speak to him man to man he is so easy to speak to because he exudes professionalism.

“He has been great and the young players should see in him everything it takes to be a professional work ethic, humility and a team player. He has done that all season. Now he is getting the absolute credit he deserves.”

Lampard described his side’s performance against United as one of the best since he became manager last summer.

He now has an FA Cup final to look forward to and his side are well-placed to finish in the Premier League’s top four, although their last two games are difficult, against champions Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“It is a great achievement for us to get to the FA Cup final, to win a semi is great but to win the final is the main thing,” Lampard, who won the trophy four times as a player with Chelsea, said.

“I can’t ask for any more from my players than that. The work ethic and the level of performance. We were on top and when they changed their system we were even better. I am very proud of that performance.

“We now have three finals ahead, two in the league and then Arsenal. We want to win things. Three games won’t define the progress we have made but we are at the business end.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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