After a frustrating afternoon in Newcastle, Frank Lampard’s attention has quickly shifted to our next fixture against Arsenal and the crucial run of games which follows it.
A painful trip to St James’ Park resulted in us coming away with nothing from a game we had dominated, suffering a 1-0 defeat after conceding an injury-time goal. With only two of the Premier League’s top 10 teams winning over an unpredictable weekend, those dropped points could be seen as a missed opportunity to make our place in the top four a little safer, but our head coach is more concerned with a massive run of games against our rivals in the coming weeks.
‘It is what it is,’ said Lampard. ‘It would have been nice to get a gap, but I think the league is so competitive and so fluid – at times we’ve had big gaps, at times we’ve had small gaps, at times we were chasing teams ahead of us.
‘So of course it’s disappointing, particularly when you control a game like that, but to dwell on that is not something we should do. We’ve got games coming thick and fast, important games. Our next league games are tough games and important games with teams around us, so let’s not concern ourselves too much with the gap, I’m more concerned whether game-by-game we can get wins.’
He is also certain that any gap in the table at this stage of the campaign, especially given recent results, is unlikely to prove decisive with so much football still to play, regardless of the outcome on Tuesday against the Gunners.
‘I wouldn’t say they will be out of it if we win, not with this season. I think any team that puts strong runs together, the picture can change very quickly. We know they are a competitor and we know they are some points behind us, but we know that if they beat us they will feel they can close the gap on us. So we know the seriousness of what it is, that’s why I think it’s better not to look around too much at other teams and just worry about yourself.’
Another reason Lampard is keeping his focus on the future and not dwelling on events on Tyneside is that he has been in the game long enough to know days like that can happen to anyone, the important thing is to move on and not let it knock your confidence, even if he acknowledges he wants to see more goals from his attacking players in those situations going forward.
‘We need to be more clinical in the box in terms of our front line, when we attack and we spend a lot of time around the opposition box,’ he explained. ‘We’ve chipped in with some goals from midfield and we have people who can arrive from midfield, but the brutal reality is that we need more goals from the front line.
‘They’ll be hurting and disappointed, everyone. I think we’ve all felt these games before, whether it’s in Academy football, first-team football, Championship football, it happens. I don’t think there’s a naive nature or a young nature to it, I just think it’s football. If we don’t finish off our chances you leave the team in the game and you can lose the game.
‘I think they gave everything and I can’t complain about that at all, because they did, they pushed and pushed, and sometimes football just does that to you.’
Frank Lampard will be talking to the media about the Arsenal game today at 12.45pm. You can watch the media conference live on The 5th Stand