CHELSEA are in a strong position heading into the international break following a convincing 2-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace.
Once again it was Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic who got on the scoresheet – but defender Reece James stole the show by marking Wilfried Zaha out of the game.
And there is yet more good news with N'Golo Kante turning down Real Madrid's approaches to sign the Frenchman.
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FRANK LAMPARD has made clear his hope that Chelsea will extend Willian's contract amid the winger's starring run of form.
A smart assist in the Blues' win over Crystal Palace on the weekendexemplified why the Brazilian is arguably the coach's most trusted wide-man.
Willian's contract is up in the summer, meaning he can negotiate a free transfer in January but Lampard has already put forward his case for a new deal.
He told the club's media: “I can’t get involved in the money, that’s up to the club, but I think everyone sees from what I’m saying, and I’m relying on him and picking him and he’s producing, I love him at this football club.”
JOSE MOURINHO does not think Chelsea will make the top two because they struggle against “top teams”.
He told Sky Sports: “Really great work by Frank but they have lost twice against Manchester United, they lost against Liverpool at home, they conceded four goals against Ajax.
“I am very curious to see Chelsea in the next match at the Etihad because I think I am curious to see if they found that great empathy between the good football they play and the pragmatism they must have to play against the top teams.
“When they find that I think they have a great team for the future.
“I don't think they have it in them to finish in the top two – but I believe very seriously that they will finish top four.”
REECE JAMES has been tipped be a huge hit for Chelsea by Frank Lampard.
Speaking on the club website, Lamps said: “He's got the abilities to go very far.
“It's hard to cap that, or not cap it, but I think that from what I see from him in training, what I saw at Wigan, and Jody Morris and Joe Edwards know him very well from the youth teams here and speak so highly of his talent.
“You always see when experienced players respect young players that come and train with you regularly and see the quality, it's always a good sign.
“I've got to huge belief that he can go as far as he wants in the game, because I see so much improvement.”
KURT ZOUMA has revealed the tactics that helped Chelsea to beat Crystal Palace on Saturday.
He told the club website: “We were watching before the game how Crystal Palace like to sit back and make the game difficult for their opponents.
“As soon we lost the ball we tried to recover it quickly – that's why we got yellow cards sometimes, because we tried to put high pressure all the time and we take risks sometimes.”
WILLIAN is the “perfect candidate” to wear the Chelsea armband, says Garth Crooks.
Writing for BBC Sport, he said: “What a clever move by Frank Lampard to make Willian captain.
“The Brazilian is now an elder statesmen at Stamford Bridge and the perfect candidate to bring the Chelsea youngsters through.”
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