Frank Lampard has hailed the impact of Thiago Silva by insisting that he belongs in the same bracket as Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany.
Silva, 36, left Paris Saint-Germain in the summer on a free transfer as Lampard aimed to strengthen Chelsea's backline for the current campaign.
And Chelsea's defence have improved their consistency after holding down five clean sheets in a row across all competitions.
Silva has played his part by featuring in six of the seven shutouts that Chelsea have managed this season.
Lampard has now praised the Brazil international for his impact in the Premier League and compared his influence to that of Van Dijk and Kompany.
Speaking ahead of the Sheffield United clash, the Chelsea boss said: "In terms of the career that he has had, of course, he absolutely walks into the bracket of top centre-backs like the ones mentioned.
"To achieve in the modern day, you have individuals or pairings defensively that set those standards.
"We know the importance of defending well to try to win trophies and particularly the Premier League title but they need support around them, behind them and in front of them but when you look at the performances of Thiago in the early games, he can be a big deal for us but we need a lot more.
"When he became available [after leaving PSG in the summer], it was something that really excited me and something that the club moved very swiftly on.
"That was good work and it feels like that now with Thiago and the opening performances showed on the pitch."
Lampard has paired Silva alongside Kurt Zouma in the heart of the Chelsea defence, with Reece James and Ben Chilwell usually making up the rest of the back four.
And the Chelsea boss admitted that he has been impressed with Zouma's form, saying that the partnership with Silva has 'helped him a lot.'
"I have been really impressed with Kurt and his form, what he has given us, also scoring goals from set-pieces and defending set-pieces as well, which is a big part of our game," Lampard explained.
"We knew it was something we could improve last year. In terms of the general game, I think with Thiago he can affect people around him because of his status in the game and how he plays it.
"When you talk about partnerships in a team, in central defensive areas, we can all think back and think of great centre-back partnerships.
"I think with Thiago he has the ability to not just rub off on Kurt but any player that he is paired within that position, because of his experience and quality. I think he has helped Kurt at this moment."
Chelsea host Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge for a 5:30pm UK kick-off time today.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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