Lack of consistency with selections a problem?
Frank Lampard said “In an ideal world you find a team and you roll with it, we were 16 unbeaten and it is very easy to not change the team and keep on getting results. When you are searching for form, searching for individual improvements then it is normal that the team doesn’t pick itself and we have a squad of players when sometimes you struggle to find your best.”
Annoyed with the way you conceded the two goals and with the run you’re in, is it time for shouting and screaming?
Frank Lampard said “There is certainly a balance and yes, I am disappointed with both of the goals, clearly, because it becomes pivotal when you come to a team in good form that you stay in the game early, at least. We know we can compete with Leicester when we are playing well but when you go 2-0 down and you’re in a difficult period of form it affects the game hugely. The first was a set piece that we needed to defend better and the second was poor deafening on the right hand side so clear individual errors and mistakes that will give goals away. Things that have to be said will have to be said and on reflection you don’t need to say it to the players straight after the agem, they know they were beaten by a better team tonight, a team in good form that we competed with last season to the very end at the minute we are points behind but they are a team we want to catch The general theme of our performance was slower, it was sluggish, was lacking confidence but also a lack of desire to run and that comes hand in hand with confidence at times. When a team has confidence, they look like Leicester, like we did a month ago. It’s a clear message to the players that when you are playing like we were, you can’t relax a little bit. If you do this game kicks you up the backside and that’s what has happened tonight.”
You said when you took the job that if things didn’t go well your reputation would last about five minutes with the board and fans, do you get a sense of time running out for you?
Frank Lampard said “I can’t control it. I don’t think this is the first time I have been asked this, I have been asked this across the last few weeks. We went 16 unbeaten, then lost two on the bounce, and I started to be asked about it. I understand it, the expectations of this club whether I think it is right or wrong, we are not in the position as Chelsea Football Club as we were in the periods when we were winning leagues. The squad consistency is not the same, the level, the robustness of players who’ve won leagues is not the same. The ability of players that can get you results, at the top end of the pitch in a tight game, is not quite there. It is a developing team. I can’t get caught up in what the reaction will be or I will be sitting there all day concerned about it. I took this job knowing there would be difficult times because it is not a club ready to compete. We had a transfer ban, young players, at the minute we have new players. You can see at the minute that the new and young players are striving for form, to be settled in this time so at the minute we just have to fight. Where everything was rosy in mid-December, it is not so now. We are not the only team to suffer that situation and I am not the only manager to be put under this sort of pressure. The lucky thing for me is I’m good at handling that pressure. I don’t like it, I want to win games and people are talking about us towards the top of the league like we were a month ago, but the reality is I could sense these periods would come and that’s all I have to concern myself with.”
Do certain individuals in this team need to step up, are they letting you down?
Frank Lampard said “I wouldn’t say letting me down because that’s not my job to sit here and say that to you. There are players who are not playing as well as they should be, that’s a simple fact. It was clear tonight and they’re the only ones who can deal with that. I was a player for 20 years and when your form isn’t good, there can be a multitude of reasons as to why confidence drops. The things you can deal with, how you work in training, how you prepare, how you handle setbacks, will be what define you. There are players in the team who are in that position.”
The great Chelesa teams you played in had leaders. Is that something you’re lacking?
Frank Lampard said “It’s not for me to compare necessarily. I think it’s just a fact of where we are as a club for sure. If you look at the composition of the squad, you can see there are young players, players who were in different leagues last season, players who were in the Championship a couple of years ago, so you’re asking a lot for them to become prime John Terry overnight. It doesn’t happen. You have to build towards that, take knockbacks, take setbacks, and get stronger. We’re not that squad, we know that. It’s why we’re in the fight now. To find consistency and to find that (leadership) is the next level for us.”
Personal disappointment not to get the best out of the new signings?
Frank Lampard said “I wouldn’t use the word disappointment because I have to pick a squad out of the players I have. I have to pick a squad that I feel is best to win the game, if I didn’t do that I would lose credibility. Different types of games mean I use different players. Timo Werner has started games for us, Hakim Ziyech has started games for us. I can’t put every player in the team. It’s not a disappointment, it’s my job to pick players that I feel I can win a game. It’s nothing to do with individual selections, it’s the individuals on the pitch didn’t perform to the levels they can do and that’ll lose you games.”
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