Ivanovic was handed the right-back position with Alex coming back into central defence, Bosingwa and Luiz making way. The midfield was unchanged from the Arsenal game but up front, Sturridge was preferred to Torres as centre-forward, Malouda on the right of the attack and Mata on the left.
Blackburn were unchanged from their draw at Norwich.
On an afternoon when eyes turned towards the sky to view a protest by the home fans against their team’s manager, Lampard dived down low to head the game’s deciding goal shortly after half-time.
A plane circled Ewood Park during an uneventful first half trailing a ‘Steve Kean Out’ banner but it had gone by the time the Chelsea vice-captain scored his seventh goal of the season to put more pressure on Blackburn boss, and at the same time raise Chelsea spirits going into the international break.
It was not a fluid Chelsea performance although it was more solid than recent games, although Blackburn did hit the bar near the end and Petr Cech was called into action in the second half having recovered from injury in the first.
In the post match interview, AVB spok about the importance of keeping a clean sheet, which would allow the team to win. He also highlighted that it is never easy to play at Ewood Park, especially afterback-to-back defeats in the Premier League.
There were two different halves – The first half was played with low intensity with not a lot of chances between the two teams but the second half grew in emotion and in opportunities.
We managed to get the goal first which was important for us in terms of emotional stimulus and we fought hard to try to get the second one. Eventually Blackburn had some good chances towards the end and every set play you felt they were dangerous, but we managed to be brave enough to defend that.
We thought we could make the most of Sturridge’s speed in behind their defence, but we couldn’t release him in the first half apart from one moment when he escaped Samba and they collided in the box.
In the second half we decided to put him in the channels and both of them played very well.
AVB also had praise for the goalscorer and for Cech at the other end who overcame a nasty knock in the first half to pull off important saves in the second.
“I think Cech has a broken nose, but he gave us good signs straight away after because he had to defend the ball played in behind our defence and with his feet as well. At half time he told us he wanted to continue, so that shows the bravery and commitment of a player who has suffered a lot of head injuries.It was a good goal by Frank and he has found his timing to arrive in the box like the old days. He is scoring a lot this season and the cross from Ivanovic was inch-perfect.We needed this stimulus of a win before the international break so everybody goes away with a better feeling and ready to return for the game against Liverpool. It was good to get back to winning ways.”
By Clare Smith