Hazard and Mata are Chelsea’s new Zola, says Lampard

Frank Lampard has compared Juan Mata and Eden Hazard to Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Zola was voted Chelsea’s greatest ever player and was in his pomp when Lampard moved to Stamford Bridge from West Ham in 2001, with Lampard revealing that he had never seen talent like Zola’s before.

Lampard is equally impressed by the talents of Hazard and Mata, and believes that both players – but particularly the 22-year-old Hazard – can improve further still, with Hazard particular impressing during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday, a game in which Lampard scored his 200th Chelsea goal.

Hazard was amazing on Sunday. The last few weeks he’s been absolutely top drawer,” Lampard said, adding: “I’ve said to him that he’s got absolutely everything. He’s got the potential, he’s 22 years of age and his ability on the ball is scaring the life out of people.

When you have players playing like that, the level he’s at and the level Mata’s been at all season, you’re going to scare teams and it’s an absolute pleasure to play with them, something I’m really, really enjoying.

It reminds me of when I came here with Zola. He was something I’d not seen before, with his awareness and ability on the ball, the stop-start and the way he turned on a sixpence.

The 34-year-old Lampard is approaching two more milestones as his Chelsea contract runs down, needing five more appearances to reach the 600-mark and three more goals to overtake Bobby Tambling as Chelsea’s record goal scorer. His current deal expires this summer, however, but Lampard believes Hazard and Mata will ensure Chelsea have a bright future.

These boys remind me of that and give us a lot of hope for the future. There are a lot of positives at this club and at times this season they haven’t always come out for different reasons.

But when you see them playing and you recognise how young they are, you try to fit them into the system. It’s all developing but when you see the results of it, it’s very exciting for the club and for the fans. They can make special things happen.

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