Chelsea's 4-0 win against Morecambe in the previous round of the FA Cup was expected to spark a turnaround in the club's shambolic league form but that’s yet to actually happen. Chelsea have now managed just one from the last five league games, losing three.
Sunday's FA Cup tie against Luton Town could once again light a spark in the dying hope that Lampard's team will go on another winning streak. Luton will be tougher opposition than Morecambe, but still are just midtable in the second division.
"Luton are going to be a tough competitor.
"They are going pretty well in the Championship, they are a good team, and this is the FA Cup and we know what comes with it. I’ll be picking a team to try and win the game and get us through to the next round."
Ever since the team statistically outperformed and physically outran (historic and, for Lampard personal, rivals) Leeds by 20 per cent, as confirmed by Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa after a dominant 3-1 win from the Blues, Chelsea have failed to get anywhere near those levels and have been largely second best in duels and workrate.
Lampard wants the team to rediscover those qualities and that sort of commitment. Of course, running around aimlessly isn't the solution either, which is where the coaching staff should be coming in to provide direction and motivation.
“One of the things that set us apart as a team last year was our energy. There were parts of that this year when we were on a good run. We needed that to beat Leeds and beat Sevilla. I feel proud when I put out a team that shows that.
“We did it last year and we managed to get to fourth position. When I see [our energy] come off we have to call it out and we have to work in training to get it better. You cannot play if you don’t run first. As a group we need to get we back to the energy we were finding when we were winning games.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
With Lampard asking for more energy from his team, it’s perhaps appropriate that he himself was showing more energy in this press conference than ever before in his Chelsea tenure. But it wasn’t necessarily good energy. Describing the press conference as “fiery” would be an understatement. Such was the energy in the room that even the customary team news ahead of the game remained a mystery. When asked about a confidence-less Chelsea resembling something like a "broken squad, miserable team and in terminal decline”, Lampard came to the defence of himself as well as the squad with all guns blazing.
(Ed.note: sorry, friend of the blog, Liam Twomey!)
I’m reluctant to respond at all because I’m really not important to what’s happening at Chelsea (certainly not enough to be discussed in a presser), but I’ll just say I respectfully disagree with Lampard’s opinion of my objectivity.— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) January 22, 2021
Good or bad, it’s never personal #CFC
Perhaps the agitation due to mounting pressure showed? Going off on the media in a presser — rightly or wrongly based off perceived bias — is never an ideal situation as it usually points towards a man in trouble.
(Ed.note: Lampard keeps saying that he can handle the pressure, both for himself and for his tem, but he’s shown to be a bit thin-skinned in such situations before, both as a manager at Derby and as a player. He says he isn’t affected by outside pressure, but clearly knows what’s being written and isn’t just ignoring it. And admitting that his players would lose confidence just by reading their own press is not a great look either, and doesn’t speak highly of the players’ mentality nor of his own ability to keep them focused. Perhaps, like Lampard likes to, we can use his age to excuse such shortcomings, but not indefinitely.)
“Well to be fair, I think their confidence would be shot if they were to read some of your pieces that you write at the minute because some of the confirmation bias that you reflect on games with, it’s like social media pundits to try and get a reaction in a negative way.
“I read the pieces when we were doing well and they go both ways so I think for a journalist to be objective would be a start.
“In terms of Pete [Cech], his experience is vital, we need to use it. Even in years that we were successful and winning trophies there were tough moments. We had some really solid squads in those years and we know what it takes to turn the corner so we will work together on that
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Hopefully we can use this sort of agitation to engineer a meaningful turnaround, starting this weekend!