NORWICH, England (Reuters) – Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham won praise from head coach Frank Lampard on Saturday after the 21-year-old netted two goals in a pulsating 3-2 Premier League win over Norwich City.
“He’s had a tough little period for reasons we all know and strikers get judged purely on goals at times and that’s sometimes slightly unfair,” Lampard said of Abraham, who received racist abuse online after Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool 10 days ago.
“But today when you talk about character and enthusiasm to play for this club, Tammy’s right up there. He shows it every day. He can get better and better so I’m really pleased for him.”
Abraham, who scored 26 goals on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship (second tier) last season, was part of a starting line-up with an average age of 24, the club’s youngest in the Premier League since February 1994.
He took only three minutes to score, hitting Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross in smartly on the half-volley. Then, in the 68th minute, he rounded two Norwich defenders before firing home the winner from outside the box.
Lampard’s faith in youth also included 20-year-old midfielder Mason Mount, who was named man of the match and scored in the first half before going off with a knock to his calf.
“He’s intelligent, he works hard, he can do different roles,” said Lampard, who coached Mount when he was in charge of Derby last season.
“So I’m delighted for the two of those and you can see the reaction of the fans. You can see that there are two young men there that are desperate to play for this club,” he added.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)