Frank Lampard hopes to make the most of a rare midweek off to spend quality time on the training ground and prepare his squad for the busy festive period which awaits.
Aside from international breaks, when the majority of his players were away with their respective national teams, we have not had a full week between matches since the end of August.
Having picked up only two wins from our last seven matches, having the opportunity to work with his squad over the course of the next six days after the defeat against Bournemouth is one which the Blues head coach is relishing as we prepare to take on Tottenham on Sunday.
‘I think a little bit of fatigue can be part of the picture, and we’ll look at that behind the scenes, but probably more for training,’ said Lampard of the upcoming week.
‘We’ve had a big spell of game after game after game – sometimes that feels good when you’re winning consistently, but now we’ve had a couple of difficult results it might be good for us to go over some things on the training pitch.’
The boss was keen to stress, however, that the relentless schedule was not an excuse for going scoreless in two of our past three Premier League home matches, when both Bournemouth and West Ham United set out to defend deep and hit us on the counter.
‘I don’t think that’s a training ground thing, I think that’s more an on-pitch thing because there’s talent in our dressing room which can break a low block with a pass, a moment,’ he said. ‘Firstly, you have to want to take that moment, take it on and not be safe, and secondly you have to execute it. We didn’t do both quickly enough.
‘There’s a balance in the team, it’s not all youth, but I suppose if you’re a young player and the door shuts on you a few times in a game it can be easy to not try and open it again. That probably comes from experience.
‘If you’re looking at it from that side then I can definitely give some space, some credit, to the young players that they may have these days. But through the squad we’ve got, and the team on the pitch against Bournemouth, I think we have to do more.
‘We had two great chances off the top of my head, Mason in the first half and Emerson with an incredible chance in the second half, and it wasn’t our day. In that case, maybe you say a 0-0 wouldn’t have felt great here, but that’s what we’ve got to get.’
On the theme of bravery, which Lampard touched upon in his post-match press conference, while there is work that can be done behind the scenes, ultimately it’s down to the 11 players who cross the white line before kick-off.
‘I think you can work towards it with how you coach, how you speak with the players and how you trust in them, but the final deal is what goes out on the pitch,’ he added.
‘I don’t want to isolate the idea of bravery, because we have to be a collective. But you do need players who can break that moment. The whole stadium felt it was a slightly flat day and sometimes you go, “Okay, the responsibility is on the players.”’