Frank Lampard was full of praise after a positive performance from his players earned Chelsea a precious three points in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.
After watching goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso secure a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Lampard indicated that the margin of victory ought to have been greater given how well his side played against the team one place and one point below them prior to kick-off.
‘There’s slight disappointment at their goal, which makes the result look slightly different and it gave us a nervous few minutes but the performance levels of the team and attitude of the team, I can’t ask for any more,’ said the boss afterwards.
‘It’s been a tough period for us at home. The last couple of days have been spent for me and for the lads finding the reasons why because we can’t keep saying we’re playing well and then lose games. A lot of it for me was mentality in both boxes, focus in every moment of the game, but the players gave me everything today.’
Lampard was particularly happy with the impact of his scorers, who haven’t featured much of late…
‘I’m pleased. You always look clever when that comes off and you’re called an idiot when it doesn’t but we have to make decisions every week. I’m delighted for them because they’re experienced lads and when they’re not playing regularly, it’s not easy.
‘Oli has got his fitness and you could see 70 minutes was tough for him but what you do get with Oli is quality. You know his attributes. In a game where I expected Tottenham to be deep - which they were in the first half - you know you can find him and he can bring people into the game.
‘Mason [Mount] and Ross [Barkley] around him helps with their energy and then you know he can finish. Marcos’s finish was top-drawer as well and that’s what a squad needs. It’s not easy to make selections when people are not playing. You need to trust that they’re good professionals and both of them have been in all ways so I’m delighted for them.’
The boss offered an insight into his striker selection…
‘When Oli is playing, you have to play to his strengths. You have to put balls into the box, you have to use him to bring people into the game and if we have to adapt slightly for games like that, that’s just the test that me and the players are under.
‘The system only works if the players play the way they play. The system only works if Ross and Mason are so mobile around Oli up front and give you a threat behind as well. The system only works if the back three today don’t sit off and allow people to turn on the ball because they’re playing with two false strikers.
‘We work on it but it’s the players who enforce it and they make the system work.’
Frank also felt Spurs should have been reduced to 10 men…
PGMOL, the body responsible for match officials in English football, released a statement shortly after the final whistle admitting that Giovani Lo Celso should have been sent off and attributed the VAR oversight to ‘human error’. However, Lampard claimed that wasn’t good enough.
‘Everybody knew they made a mistake,’ he said. ‘’We obviously have the monitor [in the dugout] and can view it so I was just waiting for the red card to be shown - not with real pleasure but it’s just a tackle that endangers a player.
‘That’s what VAR was brought in for, to see things that the referee on the pitch doesn’t see and it’s just not good enough. It’s no good saying afterwards that they’ve made a mistake because they have a couple of minutes to get it right. They probably needed one viewing of that one to get it right so it’s a another huge question mark over VAR.
‘I want it to be good, I want it work. It’s a high-speed game and referees have the toughest job around so VAR was brought in to help them and make the game better but it was so wrong today.’
The win gives Lampard the accolade of becoming the first manager to record a league double over Mourinho in his whole career…
‘I have just found that out and what credit to Jose for having that record. It’s nothing to do with me! We’re delighted to get the better of him but what an incredible record from him. I’ll take that but it’s all credit to Jose.’