Not for the first time this season it was nervier than he would have liked, but ultimately Frank Lampard was left to reflect on a ‘really good achievement’ by his players with qualification from Champions League Group H now secured.
Lampard watched his side defeat Lille 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on a wet and windy night in west London, although he would have preferred a more relaxing end to the match. Loic Remy’s strike 12 minutes from time halved an advantage given to us in the first half by Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta, meaning despite Chelsea dominance we couldn’t be sure of our last-16 place until the final whistle blew.
‘The first half was good, the first 20 minutes of the second half was particularly good, but we need to take more of our chances,’ Lampard analysed afterwards.
‘We’re leaving teams slightly in the game and that’s the frustrating thing. I am a bit tired of saying that. It’s sometimes been the story of our season.
‘I was aware of the Valencia score, and secondly 2-0 is a dangerous result if you’re scared of drawing. If you concede one you never know what happens.
‘At half-time I asked for a push from the lads and they gave us that. I never doubt they have given everything, but the reality is we need to be better in their box, we need to take more of our chances, whether it be the Premier League or the Champions League.
‘We’re in the next stage, that’s a really good achievement for the group, but we know once you get to the next stage, and how tough it will be, we can’t afford to miss chances, or to give them away.
‘We’re not conceding 20 shots and conceding one or two goals,’ added the boss.
‘Today we conceded two shots and conceded a goal. This was always going to be a work in progress, and this was a perfect example of where we can get better.’
Lampard looked forward to Monday’s draw for the round of 16
‘We should be very pleased we’re there. There has been a lot of resilience and quality shown to get through the group. When you consider Ajax were knocked out you know it’s a tough one.
‘It’ll be a very tough draw no matter who it is. I’ll be watching it pretty calmly. It is what it is, any team we get will be tough. This is a test and a challenge we want, and we should embrace the idea of whoever we get and go and take it on.’
Lampard also spoke about the possibility of us signing players in January
‘I’m very calm about this window. I know what the squad is, we feel very together with the dressing room. We are improving, even the little bumps of the last two weeks are part of the process.
‘It may be that we don’t see so much in January where you can do great business. If it’s there to be done and it feels like it’s right for the club, that’s a conversation for me and upstairs, then we may look at it.
‘But I’m very calm about January. I believe in what we have got now, and I don’t think we’re going to be crazy just because the ban has been lifted. From my point of view, we have to just keep working.’