Frank Lampard will not forget this defeat at Sheffield United in a hurry, and probably not at all, as he revealed the lessons Chelsea learned and discussed the display of Christian Pulisic.
[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – Analysis ]
Lampard said repeatedly that he has ‘learned a lot’ about his players and suggested the Blades, who ran out 3-0 winners, were more motivated than his Chelsea side.
ProSoccerTalk spoke with Lampard after the game via Zoom and asked him if this thrashing confirmed the problems he already knew he had in certain areas of the pitch.
“It’s not just one game. I am always analyzing daily and game-by-game about us. I learned a lot today, about the players,” Lampard said. “You tend to learn more in tough moments in tough games. That is for me to work with and deal with going forward. The most important thing is that collectively it’s not one to cry our eyes out for days. We are in a situation where the games are coming very quickly and we know where are are at.
“We have the opportunity to fight for the top four, which is not something many expected of us earlier in the season and you will take knocks in the Premier League like this. Particularly with the situation of where we are at. The phase we are in. We are nowhere near the finished article. I know that. I never get over excited. Days like today you have to learn from and improve.”
Asked specifically about what he learned Lampard said “he learned a lot of things but wouldn’t even start on that because it will be a long answer” and he didn’t hear his players communicating on the pitch because “Sheffield United had more voice, more personality, and that reflected in the way they played.”
Lampard added that he “didn’t want to get into the analysis and details of the game today because it is only going to be negative, and we need to be positive.”
ProSoccerTalk asked Lampard about the main positive recently, Christian Pulisic, who was clattered early on, looked a little jaded throughout and was subbed off with 25 minutes to go by the Chelsea boss. Lampard had stated that Chelsea couldn’t get their wingers in the game due to Sheffield United’s 3-4-3 system and didn’t get Pulisic and Willian involved enough.
Was the USMNT winger feeling the impact of his impressive, energetic displays over the last 10-14 days and did that early challenge knock him back?
“I don’t think so. The tackle early in the game, it was a strong tackle but I don’t think that had any effect on it,” Lampard said. “There are games sometimes when they are difficult for you individually and Christian has affected games really well individually recently, so I certainly won’t be looking at him. Everybody who has played in that game should want more, from the Chelsea side.”
For Chelsea, all is not lost. They have three games left and if they win them all, they are guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League. It is as simple as that.
That said, the same defensive issues continue to crop up and there’s no doubt the Blues have to improve their personnel at the back. Lampard has tried everything when it comes to defensive combinations, systems and playing different people across the back four. Nothing has worked.
If Chelsea are still a mess defensively after bringing in new players at the back this summer, it’s safe to say the blame has to lie with Lampard.
Like he told us, if Chelsea finish in the top four, this is still a big step forward this season and not one many expected. However, with Liverpool and Wolves to play in their final two games of the season, Chelsea will have to defend so much better if they’re going to end their largely positive season on a high.