Frank Lampard felt his Chelsea side should have been ahead at half-time, and were later punished for not taking our chances by Manchester United’s efficiency in front of goal, combined with some defensive lapses of our own.
It was not the start to life as Chelsea manager Lampard had wished for as we lost 4-0 at Old Trafford. The final scoreline was a harsh one considering the opportunities we had, particularly in the first half when the game was on edge, and the boss acknowledged there were plenty of reasons to be positive. However, his overriding emotion was one of frustration following a chastening final half-hour in which we conceded three times.
‘We were clearly the better team for 45, maybe 60 minutes, but what was evident was we made individual errors that led to four goals out of their five shots,’ Lampard said. ‘There’s the harsh reality for us.
‘If we go in half-time 2-1 or 3-1 up, as we probably should have done, if we were more clinical ourselves and had maybe a stroke of luck here and there, the game would be completely different.
‘What I felt on the pitch and in the dressing room afterwards, and although the players are obviously disappointed, there were lots and lots of elements of the game I liked. There were four or five elements I really didn’t like and they proved fatal for us.
‘What the fans want to see, and why they were clapping and very respectful at the end, was because they saw a team trying to do the right thing. The game went against us very quickly when the second and third goals went in, and that was the harsh lesson for my young team today.’
Lampard was asked to specify what aspects of our performance he was pleased with
‘It was the control of the game. We were intense in our pressure in the first half. For big spells they didn’t really get out against us. We won the ball back high in lots of areas, be it Mason or Pedro. I thought Jorginho and Kovacic dominated the midfield in the first half and switched the play as we wanted to switch it.
‘But football is won and lost in the boxes. They won in our box by being clinical. We had so many more shots and attacking entries than them, and that was where we let ourselves down by not putting them away.
‘It is quite hard to talk about it after a 4-0, you can sound stupid, but anyone who watched the game will have seen that. It gets overrided by the fact we gave them opportunities to score and they took them.’
Lampard brought Christian Pulisic on for his Chelsea debut in the second half, and he explained why the American didn’t start
‘Christian Pulisic is 20 years old. He will be a fantastic player for the club. He has got great ability. You saw little moments with his acceleration on the ball.
‘But I have also got other options in midfield and in those areas, and I don’t want to stick Christian straight into the fire without trying to help him along the way. It was one of those games where I felt it was better to start with Ross and Mason, who have been very strong in pre-season, and bring Christian on.
‘If the game had carried on at 1-0, or we were back in the game as we should have been, he would have been a great injection. In the end it was difficult for him because the game went quickly away from us.’
Lampard insisted we mustn’t let the outcome get us down and the focus now must be on learning from our errors
‘In terms of the squad we know we couldn’t bring players in this summer. I believe we have really talented young players. Let’s be clear: with the injuries we have at the moment, and not bringing in players, this is going to be a work in progress to a degree. We will have to learn harsh lessons and correct them pretty quickly.
‘We will bounce back from this. It should hurt. We certainly don’t want to lose anywhere 4-0, and it hurts, but this isn’t a 4-0 like any other. We certainly shouldn’t let it consume us to the point it has any effect on us going forward, other than analysing the mistakes and correcting them.’