Understandably Frank Lampard said he would need to watch our 4-4 epic with Ajax back before drawing any major conclusions from it, but what he could stress was that his Chelsea team will go far if they continue to display such spirit in adversity.
Eight goals, two more disallowed, two penalties and two red cards – there was no shortage of incident for the boss to reflect on! At one point in the second half we were 4-1 down, but by the end we were pressing for a winner against nine-man Ajax, eventually settling for what could yet prove a priceless point.
So was Lampard happy with the outcome?
‘I’m relieved from the position of half-time,’ he said.
‘I told the players at half-time I thought we could draw the game 3-3, win it 4-3 or it might be 4-4.
‘The moments we conceded in the first half were a mixture of sloppiness, and also some bad fortune. I felt we were in the game because of our pressing off the ball. We just needed a bit more in the final third, and we needed to lift the spirit of the stadium.
‘I’m delighted with that part of it. We are a probably a bit disappointed in the end not to win it, but in the cold light of day we were 4-1 down, so it was a good result on those terms.’
Lampard tried to put the game into historical context
‘It was a mad one. Chelsea fans know the stories we had in the Champions League. I don’t think there are many you can compare it to in our day. I know we had a 4-4 with Liverpool, and some other crazy games. It’s hard to put in perspective, I will have to watch it back, but for the spectacle it was it’s right up there.
‘Take VAR out of it, and the red cards. What I have to think about is us. The spirit we showed, the character, is something I loved and I think the fans loved. We need to tighten up for sure, but with that spirit we can go places.
‘For a performance like today you need characters, personalities. It would have been easy to turn it in at 4-1 down and give it up, but we never did. The experienced players drove the team: Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Azpilicueta. Those players really pushed tonight and I loved it.’
Reece James scored his first Chelsea goal after coming on at half-time
‘Reece is a fantastic young player. He gives what you saw, and he will get much better because he’s 19.
‘I felt we needed to change to get a bit more for us on the right-hand side. Reece can deliver crosses with great quality. He’s powerful and joins in. He knows we have Azpi there, our captain, but there are things we can do to change sometimes.
‘He’s going to be a top player for the club. He’s got great quality. When you look at the modern full-back, the requirement to go forward and be a threat, hopefully Reece can do that for us.’
Lampard provided an update on Mason Mount, who hobbled off
‘His ankle is strapped, we hope it’s relatively minor, but that’s one for the morning.’
The boss assessed the state of play in Group H ahead of our game in Valencia next
‘It’s tough. You kick yourself, because a draw in the Valencia game here would have got us off to a good start and the group would look differently. But this group was always going to be quite tight. There was a feeling teams would take points off each other. We’re in it. We have a lot of work to do, and we must focus on that for what it is.
‘The performances we put on in Lille and Ajax in terms of traveling in Europe - which is always difficult to do, wherever you go - should give us confidence. Valencia have had a great result and they are going to sniff they could go through as well. It will be a whole new tough challenge we will have to take on.’
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