Frank Lampard has defended Thiago Silva after the defender was questioned on whether his inability to speak English represented a problem for Chelsea.
The 36-year-old signing from Paris Saint-Germain made his Premier League debut as captain in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw at West Brom on Saturday, but he made a mistake to allow Callum Robinson to net the second goal as the Baggies eventually went 3-0 up.
The Blues would produce a comeback to earn a 3-3 draw with Silva coming off late for Olivier Giroud as Lampard took an all-out attacking approach.
With captain Cesar Azpilicueta also coming on and taking the armband back off the Brazil international, Lampard was questioned whether Silva can lead without speaking English.
“I am not sure how relative it was today but he doesn’t speak the language very well,” the Cheslea manager said in a Zoom press conference. “It is something that we will work through because it is what it is.
“He hasn’t had any time. Thiago turns up here pretty fresh and he is in and around us. He will learn it quickly; I am sure some players do speak the languages that he speaks in the squad.
“He speaks French, being the main one, but we have lads here who speak Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and Italian so that one is again, if the language is a slight barrier, we need time to work. That’s what we have in front of us.
“We have seen that leadership already and people are going to want to talk about the second goal and that’s fair play and that’s the nature of being the top player that he has been all his career, but at the same time, we saw how he is, his leadership and his qualities and we are going to see more of that.”
Despite the dramatic comeback, much of the focus after the match was on the poor first half that saw Chelsea's opponents run riot despite being one of the favourites for relegation this season.
Marcos Alonso took criticism from Lampard after the match, while as a whole, the Blues were poor defensively.
Recently, Lampard admitted that club legend Petr Cech is training with Chelsea’s goalkeepers to help resolve problems with under-fire Kepa Arrizabalaga. Lampard said he wouldn’t bring in a club legend to help the defence but wants to see simple errors stamped out at set plays.
“No,” he simply said when asked about another legend coming in before talking about errors as a whole. “I was relating pretty much to the set-piece goal because that’s something that’s not difficult.
"At times, there can be areas of the pitch that could look different or the shape of the team. But at set-pieces, we have meetings about who marks who, if you let someone roll off the back of you and be free to score a goal then that’s a clear mistake."
West Brom manager Slaven Bilic backed Lampard's assessment of Silva, saying the veteran defender will quickly adjust to the Premier League.
"Some need time players, yes, but for Thiago Silva no," Bilic said. "Thiago Silva captained Brazil, played for Milan and PSG. Now he is at Chelsea but he doesn’t need [time], he is a top player.
"Knowing Frank and he is a very serious guy, a top-quality manager, I don’t think Silva needs time. [The] Premier League is a global league, not an English league. I think players can make that kind of mistake in their 45th mistake.
"He made a mistake; he has made very few in his career. Maybe one in 100 games at PSG. It is nothing to do with age or his debut in the Premier League."