Giroud pleased to finally play Chelsea part
Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud admitted it was a "special" day for him as he marked his return to the side with a goal in the 2-1 win over Tottenham.
Frank Lampard’s side got the better of their London rivals and moved four points clear in fourth place in the process, while Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge ended in misery.
Giroud has barely featured in the Premier League this season but reminded Lampard of his ability with a smartly taken goal in the first half before Marcos Alonso doubled their advantage. Erik Lamela’s shot, which deflected in off Antonio Rudiger, gave the visitors late hope but Chelsea held on for a deserved victory.
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Giroud said afterwards: “It was a very important game for us today. I want to talk about the team spirit. We’ve shown great character today. We knew it was maybe a kind of turning point. We lost a bit of confidence. It was nice to bounce back and get this win, a hard win against a rival, so I feel relieved today.
“I was lucky the ball came back after hitting the post and I tried to finish. It was a good feeling for me, a good moment and I’m so happy for the team to win today. It’s been three months I didn’t start, it’s been a special day for me and all of us.
There was more VAR controversy when Giovani Lo Celso somehow escaped a red card despite appearing to stamp on Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the second half.
Referee Michael Oliver missed the incident and a VAR review ruled against a red card for Lo Celso – but technology coordinators at Stockley Park later admitted their error and that the Spurs star should have been dismissed, much to Lampard’s frustration.
“Everybody knew they made a mistake,” the Chelsea boss said. “We have got the monitor on the side of the pitch and can view it. I was just waiting for the red card to be shown, not with pleasure, but that’s a tackle that endangers a player.
“It’s just not good enough, there’s no more to say. Saying afterwards they made a mistake is not good enough. They had minutes, but they still made a mistake. It’s another huge question mark on VAR.”