Chelsea had to make do with a draw against Southampton after conceding a late equaliser, leaving Frank Lampard frustrated not to get the result our first-half performance deserved.
Despite being the better team in the opening 45 minutes and going in at the break ahead, we were unable to hold our advantage and eventually succumbed to a late equaliser after retaking the lead, with the match ending 3-3.
Having come so close to taking all three points, there was obviously an element of frustration for Lampard that his players weren’t able to see out the game with their lead intact, having performed so well in the first half.
‘I’m frustrated and the players are,’ he said. ‘They would be because the first half was as good as we’ve played this season. We played some great football, got two goals, could have had more.
‘When you concede before half-time you know that changes the tone of the game a lot. And then we got 3-2 up and we concede again late on from a free-kick. It’s disappointing. You want to pick up the points at home against teams like Southampton, but you have to respect that they’re a very good team that can make it very difficult for you. And when they made it difficult in the second half we could have certainly dealt with it better.
‘They were the better side in the second half and on the flip side we were much better in the first half, when I think we could have really put the game beyond Southampton with more goals, but we conceded late on which can happen.’
Lampard wants to see more game management from his team to see out matches when leading…
‘I thought the second half was pretty clear cut. They wanted to put us under pressure in our own half, we tried to make too many short passes in our own half, which gave them the possibility to try and win it back there and that made it much more difficult to have the control we had in the first half. When you get 3-2 ahead against a team like Southampton, what you really want is to see out the game, so that’s the disappointing factor from our point of view.
‘There’s certainly a game management element to it, when you want to be able to see out a game, kill it off. But we turned the ball over which led to the free-kick, then it’s a second ball, so there are a lot of elements to it. You can recreate it in training, you can talk about it a lot, but it’s disappointing obviously when it happens.’
There was praise for Timo Werner, who scored twice and was at the heart of much of what we did well in the first half…
‘Really good individual goals in terms of how he made them for himself. He looked sharp. Our combination play in the first half was really sharp. For Timo to get those goals, it will be great for him in terms of getting his confidence, those first Premier League goals. So I’m really pleased and we’ll see a lot more of that from him.’
Lampard and his squad will give Kepa Arrizabalaga the support he needs during this period of pressure on the goalkeeper…
‘He has to be strong enough, that’s part of the job that we’re in when you’re playing elite-level top sport and all eyes are on you and how competitive it is and the goalkeeper’s role. Kepa has to deal with that and he will feel the support of myself and the support of his team-mates.
‘It’s unfortunate because he did make a couple of good saves today. It’s unfortunate, particularly when you’re a goalkeeper, people will focus on other moments sometimes, but he has to keep working. There’s only one way through those kind of periods and that’s work and to feel the support around him.
‘He makes two really good saves today but of course people’s eyes will be drawn to the second goal and I understand that. It wasn’t just Kepa who was involved in that goal, that’s the unfortunate world of being a goalkeeper.’