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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 29, 2006

Lampard backs Shevchenko to hit goal trail

Frank Lampard expects Andriy Shevchenko to hit the goal trail soon and prove he can be a success in the Premiership.

Shevchenko, 30 today, has been overshadowed by Didier Drogba's prolific form since his £30million transfer from AC Milan in the summer.

He has only scored once in eight games for the Blues and has not found the net for more than a month.

But no-one at Stamford Bridge will be surprised if the Ukrainian striker opens the floodgates against Aston Villa tomorrow.

Lampard said: 'Sheva is a top player and he's playing in a team that's winning and he's working his socks off for the team.

'Of course he'll want to score goals because he's a proven natural goalscorer.

'But as long as he keeps working the goal will come and, once one comes, they will all come. We know that.

'We're a confident team and we're getting better. We're strong, we're creating chances.'

Drogba has scored seven goals this season, including a hat-trick in Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League win at Levski Sofia, which hoisted the Blues to the top of Group A.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien said: 'Didier is playing so well this season and as a midfield player it is great when you have a striker in that sort of form.

'Every time you get the ball up to him you know he will cause problems.

'He is very strong and powerful. He can win balls in the air and he can hold play up as well as get in shots. I hope he can keep scoring like this.'

Levski were overpowered by a Chelsea team which boasted four six-footers in midfield - Essien, Lampard, Michael Ballack and John Obi Mikel.

Mikel, 19, made his first Chelsea start and played a key role in the first of Drogba's treble.

Essien said: 'We have a physically strong team at Chelsea this season. All of us in midfield are quite tall and you can see what Mikel is like. He did very well in his first game.

'It was a great result for us and it puts in a good position but there is still a lot of work to be done and now we have to play Barcelona twice and we know how difficult that will be.'

Chelsea have a two-point edge on Barcelona going into next month's double-header against the European champions.

Lampard said: 'We're not in a real dominant position in the group by any means because there's some tough games to come but it has set us up as well as could be expected.

'We needed to win these first two games and now we've got a serious double-header against Barcelona where we want to come out with two good results and then we can talk about going through to the next stage.

'Barcelona at home, what a great game that is and we've got six points so we can have a real go at it.

'Every year is different but first of all we want to qualify. We want to qualify and we want to qualify at the top of the group.'

Barcelona knocked Chelsea out of last season's Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate win in the last-16 stage and the Londoners would love to avenge that defeat.

Samuel Eto'o, who scored Barca's winner in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, will miss both games against the Premiership champions after injuring his knee against Werder Bremen. He could be out for up to three months.

Chelsea beat Werder at home in the opening game of this season's campaign but Lampard expects the Germans to push Chelsea and Barcelona hard for the two qualifying places.

Lampard said: 'I'm not surprised Barcelona dropped points because we knew Werder Bremen were a good team.

'We found that out at the Bridge and I'm sure we'll find that even more when we go there.

'It's very difficult to go to Bremen and get a win. We shouldn't underestimate them.'

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