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Frank Lampard reflects on the rockiest, rock-steady madness of Chelsea 4-4 Ajax at the Bridge

Plenty of fireworks on the Fifth of November

Chelsea FC v AFC Ajax: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

‘Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Kurt Zouma’s adventurous trot
I see no reason why Zouma’s stepovers
Should ever be forgot’

- Guy Fawkes, probably

Were you not entertained!? Hard not to be from a thrilling and epic 4-4 draw for the ages. It’s still hard to grasp the astonishing scenes that had played out for 90 minutes against Ajax.

For Frank Lampard, it was a draw to be delighted with and disappointed with in equal measure, after first witnessing his team find misfortune, then respond brilliantly in the second half.

“I’m relieved from the position of half-time. I told the players at half-time I thought we could draw the game 3-3, win it 4-3 or it might be 4-4.

“The moments we conceded in the first half were a mixture of sloppiness, and also some bad fortune. I felt we were in the game because of our pressing off the ball. We just needed a bit more in the final third, and we needed to lift the spirit of the stadium.

“I’m delighted with that part of it. We are a probably a bit disappointed in the end not to win it, but in the cold light of day we were 4-1 down, so it was a good result on those terms.”

Eight goals, two own goals, two disallowed goals, two penalties, and two red cards (and those in the span of less than a minute!) — those are just a few of the key takeaways. If you were to decompress the beauty of the game for a first-time viewer and mix in some lovely confusion that comes with VAR, this match is likely what you would produce.

Champions League nights at the Bridge rarely disappoint. Chelsea have conjured up some of the beautiful game’s most glorious matches. Frank Lampard has experienced first-hand many of those nights as a player. Now, he found himself in a slightly different role as before, but the chaos and suspense was all the same.

“It was a mad one. Chelsea fans know the stories we had in the Champions League. I don’t think there are many you can compare it to in our day. I know we had a 4-4 with Liverpool, and some other crazy games. It’s hard to put in perspective, I will have to watch it back, but for the spectacle it was it’s right up there.

“Take VAR out of it, and the red cards. What I have to think about is us. The spirit we showed, the character, is something I loved and I think the fans loved. We need to tighten up for sure, but with that spirit we can go places.

“For a performance like today you need characters, personalities. It would have been easy to turn it in at 4-1 down and give it up, but we never did. The experienced players drove the team: Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Azpilicueta. Those players really pushed tonight and I loved it.”

Tuesday night’s fireworks made history by equaling the highest scoring draws in Champions League history. Chelsea appear on this list twice, with the other high-scoring draw occurring at the Bridge against Liverpool in a quarterfinal showdown in 2009.

Frank Lampard scored twice in that thrilling encounter.

Onwards and upwards for the boys in Blue who sit level with Ajax and Valencia on 7 points. The next match at the Mestalla on November 27th will largely decide Chelsea’s fate.

While it is a tough pill to swallow to not capitalize and secure victory given the numerical advantage Chelsea found themselves to much wonderment for the last 25 minutes, Lampard is quite aware of the gift that was provided with Chelsea’s comeback for at least the share of points.

“It’s tough. You kick yourself, because a draw in the Valencia game here would have got us off to a good start and the group would look differently. But this group was always going to be quite tight. There was a feeling teams would take points off each other. We’re in it. We have a lot of work to do, and we must focus on that for what it is.

“The performances we put on in Lille and Ajax in terms of traveling in Europe - which is always difficult to do, wherever you go - should give us confidence. Valencia have had a great result and they are going to sniff they could go through as well. It will be a whole new tough challenge we will have to take on.”

One final note, on Mason Mount. It would appear that initial observations look promising. A healthy amount of concern given how Mount grimaced with every step as we ventured off the pitch in the 60’ minute.

“His ankle is strapped, we hope it’s relatively minor, but that’s one for the morning.”

- Frank Lampard, Source: Chelsea FC

The ankle’s one for the morning. The game’s one for the ages.

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