Frank Lampard’s debut season as Chelsea manager has seen the club earn Champions League qualification, their 2-0 win over Wolves securing a fourth-placed finish.
The Blues came into the game knowing a point would be enough to secure their place among Europe’s elite next season, though came up against an often hard-to-beat Wolves side who also needed a result to cement their European place.
Chelsea dominated the ball, but were unable to break down Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the early exchanges. The Blues did take the lead just before the break though thanks to a fortuitously awarded free-kick, replays seeming to suggest Pedro Neto made no contact with Marcos Alonso. However, Mason Mount stepped up to excellently place a curling effort into the back of Rui Patricio’s goal from 20 yards to score his seventh league goal of the season.
One quickly became two, Chelsea winning the ball back and leading a quick breakaway right before the halftime break, with Olivier Giroud scoring his sixth goal in seven appearances, taking advantage of some sloppy defending from Wolves skipper Connor Coady to poke home from close range.
Wolves introduced the pacey Adama Traore at the interval as they looked to get back on terms, though were unable to break through a resilient and determined Chelsea backline, characteristics not always associated with the west London club’s defence this season.
The result ensured the Blues qualification for the Champions League, the club having dealt with a summer transfer ban as well as the departure of the influential Eden Hazard, with Frank Lampard already looking forward to the ‘challenge’ of next season.
“They’re a really good side to play against, but the discipline of my team today was fantastic. Sometimes we haven’t had that at home this season,” he told Sky Sports.
“Mason [Mount]’s strike was pure quality, Giroud was class as always. It means a great deal to me, at Chelsea we can’t get too excited with Top Four finishes. When we first came in we maybe weren’t considered there but what we’ve done this season is take the opportunity to bring in the younger players and improve the existing players.
“There were a lot of unknowns when I came in, could we move forward without Eden Hazard? We knew we had lost a massive player. We’ve a real spirit within the group now and it’s a real team effort now.
“Myself and the staff want to improve every time, the challenge now is to see what more we can do next season.”
Chelsea have a short break before they return to action next month, though they have a mountain to climb in their last 16 Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, Lampard’s young side currently 3-0 down from the first leg.