Frank Lampard confessed he had second thoughts over sanctioning the signing of Thiago Silva but has been blown away by the impact the veteran defender has made at Stamford Bridge.
The 36-year-old joined on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer to join a Chelsea side whose progress under Lampard last term was regularly undermined by a rearguard which shipped 54 goals.
Lampard spent the majority of his summer transfer budget strengthening an already star-studded attack but it has been the performances of his defensive signings which have yielded the greater dividends thus far.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and left-back Ben Chilwell have slotted in seamlessly, while Thiago has added the nous and leadership qualities which were badly missing last season.
The veteran Brazil international has also added a threat at the other end of the field and registered his second goal of the campaign with a thumping header last night and set his team on course for a 3-0 win over West Ham which lifted Chelsea up to fifth in the league.
Asked by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher if the 36-year-old had performed even better than he had anticipated, Lampard said: ‘I think so. I remember playing in the Premier League at 36 and I couldn’t play like he’s playing, week in week out. I was in and out of the team and I could feel it at that stage of my career.
‘So what I’ll say is I probably was a bit tentative. I knew he was a top player, had been a great player for a long time, but the pressures of the Premier League when you’ve never played there, he’d played in France for a long time – no disrespect.
‘Working with him now I can see the quality, the preparation, the reading of the game, the desire to win headers and compete with anyone he plays against.
‘He’s really studious about the game as well, he’s clearly going to be a manager or whatever he wants to be after the game. He’s been a great addition for us on and off the pitch.’