FRANK LAMPARD is in awe of Thiago Silva's quality despite his advancing years.
The Brazilian centre-back, 36, put on a stunning show in Chelsea's win over West Ham on Monday night.
He scored the opening goal and helped the Blues keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
And Lampard, 42, admitted his own late playing years were nowhere near as good as Silva's.
The Blues boss admitted: "I remember playing in the Premier League at 36 and couldn't play like he is playing week in week out.
"I was in and out of the team and could feel it at that stage in my career.
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"I know he's been a great player for a long time, but the pressures of the Premier League when you've played in France for so long, no disrespect. But he's exceeded (my expectations) probably, but really I shouldn't have been surprised.
"I can see the quality, the preparation, the desire to win headers and he is very studious about the game. He has been a great addition on and off the pitch."
Silva joined Chelsea on a free in the summer after eight years at French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
His performance on Monday night helped Chelsea back to winning ways after two straight defeats.
Lampard added: "The defence were great. Thiago was the leader but Azpilicueta came in and did brilliantly.
"As full-backs, you have to defend your zone when they're crossing the ball again and again.
"They're very good at set-pieces so it's something that we've worked on a lot in training and personnel like Thiago clearly help a lot.
"Some of our defending of the box this season has been really good and consistent and that has to stay, particularly against opponents like we had tonight."
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