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Lampard: Abraham needs to focus on goals, not contract

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Chelsea's Tammy Abraham. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Frank Lampard has urged Tammy Abraham to remember what made his first half of the season such a success, although he does not believe the striker's contract situation has affected his form.

Abraham is the last of Chelsea's academy graduates still to sign a long-term contract extension, following the deals for Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James and Billy Gilmour.

There are two years left on Abraham's contract and it is believed Chelsea have the option of extending that by a further 12 months, although they would prefer the 22-year-old to sign a long-term deal.

Abraham remains Chelsea's top scorer this season with 15 goals, despite having netted only once since the turn of the year, and has now lost his starting place to Olivier Giroud.

Having scored against Watford, Giroud will expect to keep his place against Crystal Palace tonight, and, with Timo Werner joining from RB Leipzig, Abraham is facing more pressure.

"I think on Tammy's contract, we're not at a critical level with it and I'll leave that between him and the club," said Lampard, the head coach.

"I don't think it's in his mind now. It certainly shouldn't be. What needs to be in his mind now is these games we have coming up and how much he can give us on the pitch, whether he's coming on as a substitute or starting.

"He has had a really good season. He hasn't scored so much in the second half of the season and as a young player it's always clear that when you have those periods there's only one way out of it and that's work and repetition in training and trying to make the most out of every moment you get. The contract will hopefully look after itself.

"He just needs to focus on giving us that Tammy we had earlier in the season, which was giving defenders so much of a problem and scoring regularly. It all came from how he was training and working through the week."

Lampard, without injured duo N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic for the trip to Selhurst Park, emphasised that he always anticipated that his young players would go through difficult periods.

"Not just Tammy," he said. "We get very excited with young talent. We've seen it this season and that's why I've tried to stay pretty grounded when I get asked a lot about the youth, particularly earlier in the season, because I felt it coming. It's really hard to come into the Premier League and sustain performances or be in the side all the time.

"I've been there, I know how hard it is to break through, but when you break through it's possibly harder to sustain it and move on to the different level."

The absence of Kante and Kovacic may give Jorginho his first start since football resumed, but Lampard insisted the Italian had nothing to prove. "He doesn't need to do anything. It's purely my choice." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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