(Reuters) - Olivier Giroud's recent performances have given Frank Lampard food for thought but the Chelsea boss said on Friday that it was difficult to offer the Frenchman the assurance that he will continue to spearhead their attack.
Giroud, 34, has yet to start a Premier League game this season with Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham preferred over him, and France coach Didier Deschamps urged the striker to sort out his playing time ahead of the European Championship next year.
However, Giroud underlined his importance in the Champions League on Wednesday when he scored all Chelsea's goals in a 4-0 demolition of Sevilla to give Lampard a selection headache.
"It's not a case of giving players reassurances over game time, it's difficult to do. You want players out of the team to train well and perform," Lampard told reporters ahead of Saturday's home game against Leeds United.
"It gives me nice problems. Oli has always done that, particularly after the restart (last season) when he was fundamental to us getting into the Champions League spots.
"From my point of view I have competition for places. Tammy has been scoring and making assists. I can't give assurances but I never see anything negative from Oli. Playing like the other night, clearly he will get plenty of opportunities."
After a mixed start to the season, Chelsea have slowly climbed up to third in the standings -- two points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea have scored a joint league-high 22 goals in 10 games and Lampard said his new-look squad is now bonding after the club spent over 220 million pounds ($297 million) in a close-season rebuild.
"It takes consistency. We're playing well but we can get better for sure," Lampard said.
"There will be tests along the way when players play well and aren't in the team the next match because of competition. We're in a good place but they can be a lot better."
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(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)
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