Frank Lampard declared himself pleased with getting all three points on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge, with a 1-0 home victory against Norwich City. But the Chelsea head coach also highlighted that performance issues still linger.
The scoreline fails to reflect Chelsea’s dominance against the worst team in the Premier League, yet also underlines the Blues’ frequent inability to put away inferior opposition, such as the already relegated visitors last night.
Chelsea very well could have had three goals by the end of the first half alone, with both Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic missing solid chances.
“Ideally you get the first, then score one or two more but you look at the action from last night with Manchester United, and then Leicester, the games that are going on. It’s so intense at the minute at the business end, so you take your three points.”
“There were lots of elements of our game we’d like to be better, we could have caused them more problems with the ball and there wasn’t enough rotation. We didn’t really give them any chances, we defended well enough, and we got our three points.”
“We controlled it well. It was one of the things that I was pretty pleased with. We moved Azpi over to the other side and they brought Buendia on who is a dangerous player who comes off the line. We were attacking a fair bit still down the sides and I just felt it was time for security and security of pass. We had 10 to 15 minutes in the second half where we got sloppy and slow again. Passed back on ourselves. It is a trait that comes back in our game but we got out of that and finished it well.”
Chelsea 1-0 Norwich FT:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 14, 2020
Shots on target: 6-0
Pass accuracy: 89%-76%
Olivier Giroud had 4x as many shots as Norwich. https://t.co/Gy0C9uwn93
Consistency is a theme Lampard has spoken to at length in his press conferences throughout the season, while pointing to the gap the between the elite teams, Liverpool and Manchester City, and the rest of the Premier League. It’s certainly a quality that stands out when comparing the past two title-winners and this current Chelsea squad.
But while we clearly have plenty of work to do still, Lampard is also delighted where his young squad, one of the youngest in Premier League history, stand in the league and Cup competitions as well after twelve months of work.
“I think we can be happy with where we are right now. I don’t want to jump the gun because we have games that will be pivotal to where we actually finish. But if we’d said we’d be third and contesting in the FA Cup and the Champions League. I know it’s going to be very tough, but we got through the group stage.”
“You see the transition of the team and the youth. A lot of our players were on loan last season, most of those in the Championship. We can be pretty happy, I think there’s a lot of work to do. I don’t think we should get overly excited.”
“The gap is clear to Liverpool and Man City in terms of points. We’re a work in progress. There’s a lot to do. I’m happy and I want a lot more. But when we come back for the start of next season, however this season. We have to tackle it and start closing the gap. It’s going to be a tough job.”
Results at this stage of the season are critical. Getting enough points to ensure a top-four finish and secure Champions League for next season is vital. There are no bonus points for style.
With two matches remaining against Liverpool (A) and Wolves (H), Lampard is well aware that the job is not done. If Lampard wants to fulfill an unspoken contractual obligation with new kit overlords Three UK to make the number three relevant in all aspects, Chelsea will need to secure at a minimum four points to ensure an acceptable finish.
“I keep talking about mentality but I don’t like the word bottle too much. When you’re coming up against Liverpool away and Wolves at home, it’s just two really good opponents, so we’ve just got to focus on those games one by one. We’ve got to prepare properly and show the right attitude, and I think we did that tonight. Those two games will look completely different from tonight.”
“So rather than talk about bottle I want to talk about focus and attitude, and then hopefully we have enough to get through but it’s going to be tough.”
Consistency. Focus. Attitude. These are the mantras Lampard wants his young squad to exhibit — so much so that he is willing to keep his team distraction-free.
While Manchester United succumbing to a late draw with Southampton is both notable and hilarious, Lampard kept his squad focused on themselves and tonight's match.
“I actually didn’t speak to them about it today because I think I have mentioned other games around us. We all saw the game but I don’t think I had to say that to them today. We know that the team around you has a moment like that then you have to capitalise. We failed to do that at other times this season.”
“All I wanted to do was make sure we did our job tonight. I felt tonight was about us. We were against a team who has just been relegated. With all respect, here at home if we get our job done at home we get three points and we did do that.”
- Frank Lampard, source: Football.London
Our focus now turns to the FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United this Sunday at Wembley.