Chelsea’s resurgent restart was ended in the east of London as a first domestic defeat in eight games was inflicted by relegation-threatened West Ham.
Willian’s brace was not enough for Frank Lampard’s team, who conceded twice in six minutes either side of the break before Andriy Yarmolenko struck a late winner at the London Stadium.
There was understandable frustration in the Blues camp at full-time, with Lampard citing costly mistakes and a lack of consistency, and those feelings were shared by captain Cesar Azpilcueta, who agreed with his manager’s assessment that a lack of sharpness down both ends of the pitch proved decisive.
‘When you face teams in the Premier League like West Ham, who are fighting relegation, you know they can come back and they will fight,’ said the Spaniard.
‘It was down to us that we were not ruthless enough to finish the game.’
The skipper insisted that the players would take time to self-reflect on the performance, both individually and collectively, in order to ensure that they learned from the mistakes and came back stronger.
‘We have to be honest to analyse ourselves and the team because when you see this kind of game, it’s down to us,' he explained.
‘We have to take the responsibility and have the ability to accept when we are not doing the right things and when we are making mistakes.’
Azpilicueta is grateful that the games continue to come thick and fast, which will give the team a quick opportunity to right the wrongs from West Ham. Another team fighting for survival are next up for the Blues, with Watford visitors to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
‘For myself as a defender, to concede three goals is very frustrating and disappointing and it hurts,’ he added.
‘I cannot wait to go back to work and train, to play the next game because I feel personally very bad and very frustrated. I want to get to the next game as soon as possible to address it.’