Ban not the reason for Abraham's promotion
Frank Lampard insists Chelsea's transfer ban did not force his hand to play Tammy Abraham.
The 21-year-old surged to the top of the scoring charts with a hat-trick against Wolves on Saturday taking his tally to seven for the season.
With Chelsea currently banned from bringing in new players, Lampard has relied heavily on Abraham and fellow youngsters Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.
But the Blues boss says he always believed the time was right for Abraham, who has had spells on loan with Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa, to be handed his chance in west London.
"I never had clear expectations for him, only the fact that I believed in him and trusted in him," said Lampard.
"I know a lot has been made about the ban giving young players opportunities but I felt the time was right for Tammy to have his opportunity at this club anyway, because of the quality he has got.
"I'm really delighted that he has got his goals. I think there's even more to come. He's in a good place, a place that just requires him to sustain and improve even more and I think with his mentality and the way he is every day I hope to see that."
Abraham is set for his Champions League debut against Valencia at Stamford Bridge tonight, while for Lampard it will be a first match in Europe as manager.
Lampard, who lifted the trophy as a Blues player in 2012, said: "I'll be proud to do it. I had multiple incredible nights in the Champions League - and some bad ones - and it is the ultimate in club football for me.
"I'll be proud to take the team out, well aware that what matters is results and starting the group well, but yes I am excited."
Chelsea face a Valencia side in a slight crisis with the players currently refusing to talk to the media in protest at last week's sacking of popular manager Marcelino, despite winning the Copa del Rey and securing Champions League football last season.
Instead former Real Madrid assistant Albert Celades will be in the opposite dug-out, and Lampard added: "It doesn't affect our approach. We are going up against a quality team."