Frank Lampard has argued that Chelsea were the stronger side on the night, despite the Blues crashing out of the Champions League with a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday,
Chelsea produced a much-improved performance compared to recent weeks and had their chances to tie the game up early on as N’Golo Kante and Marc Cucurella both failed to convert, but they ultimately came unstuck to two second-half strikes from Rodrygo, pushing the Blues onto their longest winless run since February 1995.
Despite the result, Lampard was keen to highlight the positives and insisted there were real signs of improvement from Chelsea.
“We played really well for 60 minutes,” he told BT Sport. “And maybe it’s normal, after the goal, 3-0 in the tie, we made some changes to go for it… maybe it’s normal how the game pans out.
“But for 60 minutes, really good. Really good chances. At this level, you want to take them. You have to take them. You don’t want to praise the performance too much when you lose, but of course, where we’ve been this season and where we are…
“In this moment, it wasn’t out night. Some players will take that tonight and understand what it is when they come back at this level.”
Asked whether Chelsea‘s struggles in attack had once again come back to bite them, Lampard admitted: “Yeah. That’s clear, isn’t it?
“It’s not for the want of trying. We got numbers in the box, got into loads of crossing positions, so I’ll never criticise the lads for that, but it’s a fact that if you can’t take those chances – the tie goes 2-1 at any point and you’d really feel the crowd turn. The way we were playing, we were moving the ball really well and gave them a lot of problems down the sides of the pitch, which we wanted to. It’s the first game since I’ve been back where I feel we’ve said things before the game and really implemented them. That’s a must for us for the remainder of the season.”
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Midfielder Conor Gallagher added: “I feel like we played well and had a lot of chances. But football is all about taking your chances which we didn’t do today. Of course we are going to be gutted. We haven’t got that [cutting edge] at the minute but that was definitely a big improvement on recent performances.
“We pushed players forward and Real Madrid were able to catch us a couple of times. We take it one game at a time. Hopefully we can build on the performance because I feel it was positive in a way.”
Chelsea, who are now on their longest run without a win since February 1995, will look to halt their alarming slide when Brentford come to town on April 26, with the focus now on ensuring jokes about a relegation battle do not become a reality heading into a tough end to the season.
The Blues still have to play Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle, meaning victories over Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth could hardly be more important.
“You’re playing for Chelsea,” said Lampard when asked for his goals for the players before the end of the season. “Regardless, every game you play, you have to give everything. I won’t let anyone off the hook in terms of seeing this season out. It has to be the opposite.
“In 60 minutes today we showed, playing a world-class opposition, for me we were the better team and had chances. That standard cannot drop, and that’s the one message for us once the dust settles.”
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss a potential midfield merry-go-round this summer, Victor Osimhen’s chances of joining Chelsea, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher’s futures, Harry Kane, Ilkay Gundogan, Ousmane Dembele & more!
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