Chelsea coach Frank Lampard has hailed Mason Mount as a “fantastic talent” after the midfielder was targeted for criticism by Jose Mourinho.
The 20-year-old made his senior debut and played the full 90 minutes for the Blues in the heavy 4-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
Mourinho suggested Mount, along with fellow academy graduates Tammy Abraham and Andreas Christensen, failed to impress in their Old Trafford audition.
Speaking as a pundit for Sky Sports, he said: “You look to the performance of Mason Mount, the performance of Tammy Abraham, you look to the performance even of [Andreas] Christensen and for matches of this dimension you need a little bit more.”
After hearing his former manager’s comments, Lampard responded after the match: “He didn’t like the performance of Mason Mount? Is that what he said? Did he? wow.”
Ahead of the Uefa Super Cup clash against Liverpool, Lampard was asked once again about the young playmaker, and the 41-year-old explained why he believes Mount deserves to be in the team.
“With Mason, I don’t like to compare him against myself because we’re different players,” he told a news conference.
“But about Mason himself, he has an incredible attitude, a great work ethic and I love how he works to get the ball back.
“[He’s a] fantastic talent who likes to be part of possession and score goals and make assists. I’m a huge fan of his, he’s a part of the first team and I believe there’s still more to come from him.”
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who bore the brunt of the criticism after a poor individual performance, came to the defence of another one of Chelsea’s youngsters, Tammy Abraham.
The 21-year-old, who scored 26 goals on loan at Aston Villa last season in the Championship, started brightly after hitting the post early on but faded somewhat in the second half.
“I’ve known Tammy for a long time from when he was in the academy,” he said. “I saw him training and on loan saw his improvement at Aston Villa. His strength was to be in the Chelsea first team.
“He got a chance to be here because he deserves it. In pre-season, he has worked very hard. He was very close to start very well.
“Scoring is what strikers live for. We need to keep encouraging him. At this age, the only way he will go is up and we trust in him.
“A Chelsea striker demands the best level, but I am confident and trust him a lot. He is a player who has a great talent, work rate and that goal could have helped for the confidence, but I really trust him.”