Frank Lampard criticised his Chelsea players for not showing personality against Bournemouth and claimed it was not a performance he enjoyed watching.
Chelsea rarely carried the required quality in the final third in their 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth meaning Lampard’s team have now lost four of their last five Premier League games and are looking over their shoulders in the race for the top four.
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Scoring goals in front of their home fans in the Premier League is becoming a problem for Chelsea with just 11 scored in their nine matches at Stamford Bridge. In comparison, Liverpool have netted 26 at Anfield and Manchester City 22 at the Etihad Stadium.
Lampard admitted he totally understood the fans’ frustrations as he would have felt the same if he was in the stands.
“In front of our fans we’re not playing well enough and getting enough results,” Lampard said.
“Today wasn’t a ‘we’ve created a load of chances day’ – we created two or three great chances and we need to take them if we want to improve. But today we didn’t get the fans excited enough. The fans shouldn’t be excited if we’re playing 10 balls across our back four. That’s not a team I want to manage.
“I’ll be the first one to say when the fans were flat as I’m a Chelsea man, but I wouldn’t say that today. As if I was there as a Chelsea fan today I’d be sitting there saying ‘too slow – centre-back to centre-back, to fullback, to centre-back, to fullback’ and I don’t want to come and see that. I won’t blame the fans.
“They come to support the team – they’ll go to Tottenham next week and then back here on Boxing Day. And some responsibility is on the players to excite them and have the personality to take the ball and beat someone.
“I can’t find anyone wanting in terms of how we apply ourselves but what we do on the pitch is the main thing, and at the moment it’s not good enough.”
CHELSEA REALITY CHECK
Just over a month ago, Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace was their sixth Premier League win on the bounce and gave them a healthy cushion in the race for the top four.
However, subsequent defeats against West Ham, Manchester City and Everton has put the door ajar for the chasing pack with the gap to fifth place Sheffield United now just four points.
Lampard thinks the recent run of results comes as a bit of a reality check for those who thought Chelsea could consistently challenge the top teams this season.
“I was asked in press conferences when we were winning about how good we were,” he said.
“I was always guarded against that. Whether I’ve been proved right or not, this is the reality. If we’re not at our best and can’t break teams down with players not being able to do something to beat teams that are organised, then we need to find another way. That’s the test and hard work needed for us.
“When you play against organised teams like West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth, we need to find another way and we haven’t been able to do that. With that comes nerves and stress in the stadium and within the team. We didn’t deal with it well enough.”
This story originally appeared on Sky Sports and is republished with permission