'He is a big character for us and he is scoring important goals': Frank Lampard praises Chelsea matchwinner Olivier Giroud after his header downed Norwich and kept Blues on course for Champions League qualification

Frank Lampard heaped praise on Olivier Giroud after he proved Chelsea‘s big man for the big occasion by scoring the only goal in Tuesday night’s crucial win over Norwich. 

Giroud’s first-half header secured a 1-0 victory which saw Chelsea bounce back from defeat by Sheffield United and strengthen their grip on the race for the Champions League.

Giroud, who ‘did everything’ to leave Stamford Bridge in January, has now scored four times during Project Restart.

‘He is a big character for us and he is scoring important goals at the minute,’ Lampard said. ‘Just before lockdown he came in and was part of a couple of big results so that’s credit he was due anyway. 

‘He has never given me a problem, he has always trained brilliantly. His professionalism was always good. 

‘I told him in January I wanted him to stay and he was fantastic in how he handled that. The way he plays is important for us.’ 

Thanks to Tuesday night’s victory over already-relegated Norwich, Chelsea now have a four-point cushion in third, albeit having played a game more than their rivals. They face Liverpool and Wolves knowing their destiny is in their hands. 

‘Hopefully we have enough to get through, it’s going to be tough,’ Lampard said. 

Match-winner Giroud added: ‘We really wanted to bounce back and we played a good team against Sheffield United. 

‘We have done mistakes obviously so we tried to not do it again. This determination to do well tonight was very high. The most important thing was the three points so we feel relief now.’

Giroud celebrated his goal by appearing to write something, later revealing: ‘I play scrabble with N’Golo Kante! That’s it.’

He added: ‘The team was a bit under pressure also because we know we needed the win definitely so we are happy… I am very pleased with the goal and it helped the team win the game.’

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