Chelsea’s emphatic 4-1 win at St. Mary’s marked the fourth consecutive win for the Blues in all competitions and the fourth consecutive away victory this season. Lampard’s young Blues delivered another eye catching performance in attack but not before some initial struggles in getting the ball to dangerous areas. Nevertheless, Frank was happy to head into the international break on a positive note.
“I don’t think we started that great. But what pleases you is when players stand up and have moments that give you control of the game. Tammy’s goal was incredible, to get the purchase and contact on the ball. Then Mason stepped up. In the second half we got over a couple of sloppy moments that seeped into the game which we need to look at it. We can’t do that; we can’t offer up opportunities. But other than we were comfortable, managed the game well and saw it through.
“I’m pleased. The last international break we went in to after dropping two points against Sheffield United. Today was the opposite. We’re in good form. Our short-term form is good, and I wanted to finish strong. That was the team talk to the players. It was a relatively comfortable afternoon in the end at a tough place to come if you’re not at it.”
While Chelsea were mostly pretty good at dealing with set pieces, which have been the major source of goals conceded this season, Southampton’s goal was still a result of some casual defending and midfield play. Lampard’s Chelsea have thus failed to keep a clean sheet for the 15th time in 17 games, including preseason.
A better team than Southampton surely would’ve posed more danger with the result suddenly teetering at the 2-1 scoreline, but Chelsea responded well to the setback and killed off the game with the third and fourth goals to bag all three points. Lampard’s seeing some encouragement from this, and is hoping to build on those positives.
“The fact we allowed someone to stroll into our box to make it 2-1. We switched off from the throw-in, which we had talked about, and then we offered them up a chance at the end of the first half which would’ve made half-time much nervier than what it was.
“To be fair there will be a lot of weeks I will sit here and say the boys at the back have been brilliant — and they have recently — but you can’t afford to give little moments. Those are pointers for all of us that we are not there, we are nowhere near the finished article at the minute.
“When you see the little negative things, it means you have standards where you are trying to get to. The players should feel that. It can be a positive, as long as you win! Coming away 4-1, it’s easy to not analyse those little negatives because they can get glossed over. It’s important they don’t because they are the percentage part we can improve.”
After 8 games, Chelsea sit 5th in the table with 14 points out of a possible 24. Thanks to all the other teams besides Liverpool dropping points at a surprisingly clip, Chelsea are level with Arsenal, just two points behind Manchester City in second, and are already ahead of both Spurs (11 points) and Manchester United (9 points), our expected rivals in the top four chase. We could easily be even higher had it not been for some blunders along the way (such as the two points dropped against Sheffield United), but such things are to be expected from a young team managed by a young manager after a summer of big departures and a transfer ban.
Expectations and standards have been reset, in a way, but certainly not dropped completely. They may have been redefined a bit, in terms of a youth revolution, but with Lampard at the helm, it would be impossible for the team to not aim high. Consistency, as ever, will be key in any such ambitions, and Lampard is hoping we’ll get there sooner rather than later in order to fight for honours this season.
“We’re a few points short of where we should be on performance. There are games we should have gained more points from, and that’s on us. But I’m pretty happy that we’re in and around the group behind Liverpool. At this early stage we’re in a nice position.
“It should give us determination to go away and come back in the same vein. The minute you relax in this league it can all change very quickly. The reason we are playing well is because of how hard we’re working, and how together we are. If we can keep going with that we will be challenging right up there I hope.
- Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
International break be damned! Can’t wait for the young Blues to return from the break!