Lampard annoyed by result, but ‘can’t ask for more from the players’

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Frank Lampard has praised his Chelsea players’ attitude and performance while lamenting the final result in his side’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday.

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Following Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, Lampard was asked if he viewed Monday’s performance as a proper response. His answer — “Definitely, in terms of performance” — was as direct and succinct as he’s been all season. Alas, Chelsea conceded a second-half equalizer and dropped a pair of points against a team that’s currently above them in the Premier League table on goal difference. That part was, of course, not so pleasing — quotes from the BBC:

“We started really well, Villa had their moments but we dealt with them and came through the first half really strong. We got a goal we deserved.

“Second half, we conceded with a man on the floor, that’s the way it is for us at the moment. We pushed but couldn’t break the deadlock. Attitude-wise, effort-wise, some of the play was very good against a really good team.

“I can’t ask for more from the players today. No one let me down, everyone worked hard, we didn’t get the rub of the green.”

“You want to get results at this point of the year. I could feel the players’ disappointment at the end because they want to win.

“A few weeks ago people were talking about us as title challengers, now it’s a difficult period. The new players are going to get better as they come along.”

It’s a far cry from his comments on Saturday, when he labeled the majority of his team “lazy” before making six changes to the Chelsea side on Monday. Presumably, the drastic change in selection was intended to send a message and garner the aforementioned response.

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As happy as Lampard might, or might not, be with how his team played, the fact remains Chelsea have won just one of their last five Premier League games and have taken just four points out of a possible 15 during that period. With games against Manchester City (possibly), Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur in their next six, there won’t be many easy points to be had over the next month.