With regards to performances, there is really not much to complain about Chelsea today. Despite not having a squad held in as high regard as Liverpool’s, the Blues were superior to the Premier League contenders for the most part of the match-up. Too bad that their good work was undone by two set piece mistakes that gave Liverpool a 2-1 win over the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Manager Frank Lampard, who is not having the best luck on the pitch with results, injuries and whatnot, feels the same way about the game. He saw his team do everything he wanted against a team as powerful as Liverpool, playing at the same level pound-for-pound despite falling 2-0 before half-time.
“Performance wise [we were better], yes, particularly the second half. Within that you have to say details lose you games.
“Firmino goal loses us that game because you can’t have a free header in our six yard box and it’s hard to accept congratulations after a loss, we can’t be there but the way we played in the second half is towards where we want to be.
“Energy, passion, moving the ball quickly, changing the play, getting crosses in the box, things that we work on and we did it against Liverpool. And it is not easy.
“Half-time, 2-0 down you could take it on the chin and say this team is too good that we can’t turn this around but we did the opposite which I’m proud of but we need points too.”
Besides everything that comes with a loss to Liverpool, there is the continuation of an unfortunate streak for Lampard. The young coach has yet to win a single home match at Stamford Bridge since the beginning of his work at the club, with two draws and two losses in four matches thus far this season.
The lack of victories at home is a concern for Lampard. But he is confident that we will not remain winless at the Bridge for long, especially if we continue to perform at a high level as we did today. And for him, the (current) inability to play consistently at this rate — which is something we need to continue working on — is what separates us from today’s opponents and their PL title rivals, Manchester City.
“[No home wins] are definitely a concern and we want to win at home. Against Liverpool you know can lose, they are a strong team and that can happen and I expect them home win to come soon.
“The difference between us and Liverpool as we have shown clearly today that we can compete with them it is that we aren’t consistently as good as them and Man City week in, week out and a lot of teams can say the same.
“To work towards those levels is hard. It’s a daily, daily thing and that’s where we need to go now.
“The home win will come, hopefully it comes very soon and it will bring confidence to everybody but we need to aspire to a level like Liverpool when they probably don’t play their best but they win the game.”
Overall, the team performed quite well given major absences such as Antonio Rüdiger, who was watching the game from our bench despite not being in our squad due to a groin injury; and youngsters Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who will (hopefully) be back in contention next Wednesday, in time for our first League Cup match of the season against Grimsby Town.
At the individual level, as it is often the case, it was midfielder N’Golo Kanté who topped the performance charts. He was terrific with his work on and off the ball, and he was rewarded with Chelsea’s lone goal of the day as a result. Lampard also made sure to praise the industrious player who often goes “under the radar”, since he is just doing what is expected of him at this point of his scintillating career.
“We end up not being surprised by Kanté which is not fair on him. He did it in the super cup without training and he did it today with probably not [much] match fit training but he is so important for us that you put him in the team and he showed his qualities and there will be more of that. The goal was great.”
For Lampard, Kanté was not alone in terms of individual highlights. He was also impressed with the work of young defender Fikayo Tomori, who handled himself quite well against one of the most dangerous forwards in the world in former Chelsea player Mohamed Salah; and his left-side companion at the fullback role, Marcos Alonso, who was introduced early in the match in place of Emerson.
“I also want to single out Tomori for me personally. To go up against Mohamed Salah who is lethal in every sense and deal with him for pace in the mind, the way he played, everything he did today I thought was class and they are the signs I’m looking for individually.
“I thought his performance was brilliant and Alonso I thought came on and did very well, its not easy coming on in a big game like that but I thought he did very well.”
Still, there is plenty of work to be done at Chelsea who have yet to collect a clean sheet this season. Lampard himself will be looking hard at misgivings such as poor defending in set pieces, as he is well aware that we cannot replicate that Wolverhampton performance — where we beat them at their own turf 5-2 — week in and out.
“We need to work, we need to look at it in training. Set pieces are a different animal to other types of goals. I will always look at the team in every element of goals, and there are times when we have not defended well as a team when we have conceded, and there are times when with a set piece we work on all week and then we switch off in the game.
”So we have to work consistently to do that because it is very hard to replicate exact moments in a game but we have to do that in training. Our clean sheet will come for us and its obviously important, because we can’t out score everybody every week, particularly teams like Liverpool.”
-Frank Lampard; Source: football.london
Lampard’s inexperience might be costly at times. But for someone like him, it also serves as a way to nudge him towards working on solutions with much ease than veteran counterparts, who are often stuck in old ways to solve new problems within their teams.
And so, we keep on trusting the process.