Having watched his side lose in the Premier League for the fourth time in their last five outings, Frank Lampard reinforced that there was still plenty of work for his young side to do in order to improve and remain competitive at the top-end of the division.
Bournemouth snatched a late winner at Stamford Bridge to steal all three points and end their own five-match losing streak. Afterwards, Lampard analysed the performance by calling for his players to be quicker and braver in possession, particularly at home against well-organised opposition.
‘I’m disappointed,’ said the boss. ‘I did feel guarded against this when everyone on the outside was getting excited with seven wins on the trot. I was more level-headed because I felt there was more work to do and now we see there is definitely more work to do.
‘When we play against teams who are organised and want to stop us playing – West Ham, Everton, Bournemouth today – we have to find another way and we haven’t managed to do that. That then brings nerves and stress in the stadium and within the team, which we haven’t deal with well enough.
‘This is the reality – if we’re not at our best, if we haven’t got enough to break teams down that are organised, if players with their individual qualities and personality can’t do something to beat teams that are organised, then we need to find another way.’
Expanding on that point, Lampard explained what more he wanted from his players.
‘Urgency in our play. If you’re transferring the ball then transfer it quickly from side to side. If you’re playing through the lines because that’s the kind of player you are then get it through the lines.
'If you’re an attacking player, get at people, do things that are positive and don’t play safe. We played generally too safe throughout the game.’
Playing too safe contributed to a generally flat atmosphere at the Bridge but the boss refused to blame the supporters.
‘In front of our home fans, it’s clear now that we’re not playing well enough and not getting enough results. Up until now, a lot of it was not taking enough chances because we’d been creating a lot and giving away some silly goals.
‘Today wasn’t a day where we created loads of chances. We created two or three great chances and we need to take them if we want to improve but we didn’t get the fans excited enough. The fans shouldn’t be excited if we’re going to play 10 balls across our back four and that’s not the team I want to manage.
‘I’m a Chelsea man, everyone knows that so I’ll be the first one to say if the fans are flat and we needed them but today I’m not going to say that because it was too slow. I won’t blame the fans at all – they come here to support the team, they’ll come to Tottenham next week, they’ll come for the Southampton game on Boxing Day and some responsibility is on the players. They have to excite them and have the personality to take the ball in an area to beat someone or play forward.’
Frank was asked about the options in his squad ahead of a busy upcoming fixture schedule.
‘There are options to rotate and it’s something I look at every week – sometimes it’s worked more and sometimes it’s worked less but I think you have to. Players have to show that they deserve to come in and make a difference, particularly in a moment like now.’
Finally, Lampard stressed that these setbacks would be tackled with the same togetherness and hard work that has typified our season to date.
‘I’ve been in the dressing room as a player after those games so we’re not going to start drawing lines between me, the staff and the players. I understand how they feel so it won’t be a hard week where I get them in for training tomorrow morning and we watch the video for two hours.
‘We have a long week where they can go away and have time with their families, then when we’re in we’ll work properly and focus on the Tottenham game. That’s what they do to be fair. I can’t find anyone wanting in how they apply themselves but what we do on the pitch is the main thing and we have to understand that at the moment it’s not good enough.’