He couldn’t get the win he wanted against Aston Villa, but Frank Lampard was happy with the attitude and performance shown by his players in a difficult game.
Our head coach had made no secret of his disappointment at how the team had played in our previous match, a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal, but was much happier after seeing a big improvement from his much-changed side, even if the finishing touch to seal a victory eluded us at Stamford Bridge.
‘It’s a draw, against a good team, and the performance was good,’ said Lampard. ‘I thought we deserved to win the game. We came through a difficult patch knowing that we want to improve. We saw a lot of signs today in the attitude of the team, coming to play, without having the final bit in the final third.
‘It leaves us having to do more because the table’s still tight. We’ve had a funny patch, we’ve remained really close to the top of the league. Off the back of a really good run we’ve had a difficult little time and today I saw some really good signs that I liked.
‘I wasn’t displeased with anything tonight other than the fact that we conceded that goal, and we didn’t really concede many chances in the game, and we didn’t score another goal which would have given us some comfort. But I was pleased with the players who came in, I was pleased with the attitude.’
Lampard felt that the momentum of a winning run might have been enough for us to win this game not long ago...
‘When things are going well it’s pretty easy. We were on a long unbeaten run, we were playing well, not too many levels up from what we were playing today. Today the focus of the team was good, some of the play between the lines, particularly down our left-hand side with Chilwell and Christian and Mason was really good, against a really good team.
‘So I think maybe we would have won it a month ago. When you’re in a good run the ball goes in the back of the net more, like with Christian’s chances or the chances at the end of the game, the goal that happened when you’ve got a man down. Unlucky or whatever you want to call it, that’s just football. It’s a point, we wanted more, but if we keep playing with the same attitude then we will get back to winning.’
Villa’s equaliser was surrounded by controversy due to a possible handball in the build-up and Andreas Christensen being down injured from a Jack Grealish challenge when they scored…
‘I think it was handball on the line. The fourth official was very close, the linesman was very close, I’m not sure why it wasn’t given. In terms of the Grealish incident, I haven’t seen it again, but I didn’t feel there was much in it at the time, I’m not sure whether it was a foul or not. I was just concerned as soon as Andreas stayed down that the ball was going to go into our box and we’d be a man down, which turned out to be the case.'
He enjoyed the performances of scorer Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi…
‘If you’re going to deliver for Oli in the right areas, he gets in the position and he gets really good contact on the ball and that’s why he’s scored goals. That’s why he’s been a regular scorer wherever he’s been. He did for us today, he’s done it for us this season and he did it for us in restart.
‘I liked Callum’s performance today and I liked is range of passing, which was very evident in the first half. A couple of great crossfield balls and some of his movement and touches were great.
‘The obvious next part is end product because what we want to see from Callum, and I think he did it against Arsenal when he came on, is to be confident to go one-on-one because he has the ability to do it. That, and to get crosses in like he did for Tammy, and to get goals and to arrive in the box, because that’s the level of top wingers in the Premier League.’