Frank Lampard discussed his pride in the team performance and disclosed his supportive debrief to young striker Tammy Abraham in the aftermath of an enjoyable and encouraging performance in the Super Cup, despite a penalty shoot-out defeat.
After an engrossing two hours of football in Istanbul between two English sides in the Super Cup for the first time, fine margins proved the difference. The boss emphasised the pride he had in his players as they went toe-to-toe with the reigning European champions, insisting that his inherent displeasure at being on the losing side was tempered with positive signs from his Chelsea team.
Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring in the first half but Liverpool came back to lead with a brace from Sadio Mane, the Senegalese forward netting early in the second half and the first period of extra-time.
Jorginho hauled us back into the contest with a penalty and it was from 12 yards that the contest was settled as Tammy Abraham’s decisive spot-kick was saved.
After the game, Lampard claimed he was happy despite not going home to London with the trophy as there were so many good aspects in the performance, offering optimism for the campaign ahead.
‘I respect Liverpool and they had chances in the game but it was clear to me that we were the stronger team,’ he claimed. ‘We had some bad luck at times and maybe some bad finishing which we need to be more clinical with but my overall feeling from the game is one of pride in the team performance.
‘I don’t like losing, I’m a terrible loser and we all are at Chelsea. We wanted to win this game but we were unfortunate so I’m happy with the players. If that’s a sign of what we can do this season – and we will get better – then it’s a really good sign.’
After watching nine spot-kicks successfully scored, it was 21-year-old Abraham who stepped up to keep the Blues in the shoot-out. His central effort was kicked away by Adrian, although it looked like the Spaniard’s feet were off his line when the kick was taken, contrary to new rules.
Regardless, Lampard revealed the words of encouragement he issued to his young striker in the aftermath of the game, insisting that the character to step up far outweighed the misfortune of missing.
‘I told him not to worry,’ he said. ‘The fact that he’s confident and wants to step up to take the fifth penalty is pleasing to me. I’ve been there myself, anyone can miss a penalty, but what I want is the confidence of a young player to turn up and do that.
‘It’s part and parcel of being a player at the top level, which is what Tammy now is. These moments come and we have to be supportive of him because that’s football.’
Frank was also asked whether the two-day difference in preparation time between Chelsea and Liverpool leading into the game played its part in the result.
‘For us to play away in Manchester on Sunday evening and for Liverpool to play at home on Friday evening, with two days more recovery this early in the season, it clearly affects your preparation and was an advantage to them,’ he explained.
‘You wouldn’t have known it with the way we played because we kept going for 120 minutes but it’s unfortunate for a game of this level and importance that there’s two days extra recovery and preparation for one team over another. I don’t want to sound like I’m moaning - we didn’t lose the game because of that but it was a bit frustrating.’