There was a certain familiarity about the way the Blues slipped to defeat on Wednesday night, with it being the second time this season West Ham have scored to take all three points against us, while we at times struggled to break them down, and it is a familiarity that highlights this team is not the finished product, a point Frank Lampard was keen to make before he left the London Stadium.
A run of five straight wins in all competitions, three since the lockdown, came to an end despite Willian converting a penalty and a free-kick, both won by Christian Pulisic, as we allowed the relegation-fighting east Londoners to score three times with their winner coming with 89 minutes on the clock. Lampard however was not singling out the defenders as the culprits in the defeat.
‘We made mistakes in the build-up to the goals, not just defenders, which cost us the game,’ he said.
‘I would not call it a wake a call, because every game is different. We have six games ahead of us now and this was not a huge surprise as if you play in the Premier League and you make mistakes, if you dominate possession but you don’t quite do enough with it in the top end of the pitch, then it can happen.
‘That is already something that we knew and we have to accept it now it is done and move onto the six games ahead of us.’
Adding the sense of frustration was that with Leicester also losing their game on the night, we would have moved into third place for the first time since November had we won.
‘It is something that has happened a few times this season, we have had the opportunity to close gaps or jump over teams,’ noted the boss as he considered missed opportunities.
‘That is the sign of where we are, we have a lot of hard work to do to get to where we want to be and that is the reason the rest of us are chasing Liverpool and Man City, because of the consistency they have developed over time. That is what we have to work towards but it is frustrating.
‘If we are in that position, it is how you bounce back, how you move forward. We now have Watford at the weekend and games after that to try to carry on. We have to realise the position we are in in terms of fighting for the Champions league places and move forward.’
Despite the defeat, Chelsea supporters were able to take some consolation from another eye-catching display by Pulisic, and Lampard joined them in that.
‘It is a big positive, he is playing well as everyone can see, plus with Willian as the two wingers, Willian got his two goals. Christian had a patch running up to Christmas when he was playing towards his level as well and he got injured and was out for a long time. So it is nice to see him back, fresh and hungry and playing with the quality he has. He is going to get better. He is a young player with great talent.’