Frank Lampard returned to a familiar theme when assessing our Boxing Day defeat at home to Southampton, urging his players to be better at breaking down organised opponents at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were beaten 2-0 by the Saints after goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond. Afterwards, the boss highlighted where we need to be better.
‘It felt the same as recent home games,’ said Lampard in assessment of the contest. ‘Credit to Southampton, they were organised, they got their goals and got the win but we know we can do much better. We need to be better at breaking teams down. It was the same story as a few of the last home games.
‘It was flat and Boxing Day can bring that a little but that can’t be an excuse for us on the pitch. Things like shots and crosses get the crowd excited but we didn’t have any clear-cut chances and we need to show more in terms of bravery and quality on the ball.
‘We haven’t been clinical in front of goal, that’s something we have to improve on. It’s a busy time for everyone, so tiredness isn’t an excuse, we just have to learn from this and improve quickly.’
The boss retained our 3-4-3 shape before switching to 4-3-3 at half-time and he expanded on the reasons why.
‘I felt we controlled a lot of the first half. We had a lot of the ball, which you tend to do with three at the back, but then when you go down 1-0 you’re thinking about getting an attacking player on the pitch.
'Mason Mount has been feeling under the weather a bit in the last few days but he came on and we looked brighter in the second half but still gave them a couple of counter-attacks.
‘We need to reproduce what we did against Tottenham on a regular basis, we need to be better at home and that’s the challenge for us at the moment.’
Frank was asked about the performance of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
‘I thought he put a lot of effort in today. He was trying things, making runs but it wasn’t quite coming off for him in the first half. He’s coming off the back of a big injury and there’s certainly a period where we have to stick with him through that.
‘He’s still young and he’s in a period now where he has to get his head down and work to show what he can be for this club. I showed faith in playing him today and I will continue to do that.
'I’ve sat and probably been relatively harsh on Callum a couple of times but I don’t think is the moment to do that because today I saw an effort and desire and I’ve seen it in training these last couple of weeks.’
There was also an injury update after the absence of a couple of players from the matchday squad.
‘Marcos Alonso picked up a muscle injury against Tottenham but hopefully he’ll be back for Arsenal. Reece James won’t – he has an ankle issue at the moment.’
With the halfway point of the Premier League season now reached, Lampard offered a brief assessment of the season so far.
‘I’m relatively happy overall but I would say that much more after Tottenham rather than today because we’re disappointed. It taints it because we’re not doing it at home in front of our own fans and we want to make it a fortress at Stamford Bridge like it has been in the past.
‘Some of these results and performances don’t surprise me so we have to keep some perspective because we have a lot of work to do.
‘You need consistency to finish in the top four because it’s the Premier League and everyone is striving for it. Clearly we need to win more than we have done recently at home.’