After a first 45 minutes of football at Arsenal which he rates as the worst half by his team this season, Frank Lampard has confirmed it will have an impact on his selection against Aston Villa.
The Blues face the West Midlands side just 48 hours after our Boxing Day defeat and that alone means rotation is likely but the lack of energy shown at the Emirates, which the boss says was not due to physical fatigue, and the basic standards not being reached ensure more changes are on the cards.Lampard has already confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi will play against Villa on Monday evening but one switch he cannot make is to bring in Hakim Ziyech. He has reported the Moroccan is not yet recovered from injury sufficiently.‘There will be some changes,’ Lampard says.‘I knew that anyway and I am certainly not going to bang the drum about the quick turnaround [between the games] after our performance at Arsenal, it is not the important point, but playing two days later we have to make changes anyway and some of those will now happen as well because of how that game went.
‘People have to come in and inject the energy and personality that is in our performances normally. The reason we went so many games unbeaten was because of that, and we have come off that, and we have to get back on it quickly.‘Some of it is because of where we maybe are as a squad. People wanted to talk us up as title contenders, I never accepted that was the case because we are not there, that takes time to build.‘Games like the Arsenal one are certainly ones we have to learn a very big lesson from - everybody, myself included - because when I see that in the first half I don’t like it. I don’t like it so it can’t happen.’
The only way
It is often said managers learn most about their players when they are dealing with defeat and with young squad members and some new to the Premier League, Lampard knows tough times must be negotiated.‘I don’t think this season was going to be plain sailing and winning every week. We got confident and we got into a position where we were not losing games and we were winning a lot of games. Things are pretty easy at that point. When you lose a couple of games it becomes much tougher and the only way out of it is to fight and to work hard. That is what I will be instilling in the players, that idea, because that is the only way you get out of what is a difficult little period for us.
'But at the same time, we are still close to the top end of the table and I feel there is a big improvement coming because of the youth in our team, and the freshness because of players who have come in, so I expect that but we have to work for it.’
A question of shape
Lampard might consider an alteration in formation to help his team rediscover their form from prior to the last couple of weeks.
‘When we changed the system before it certainly helped us get an uplift because we weren’t feeling as fluid as we like to be, and it is my job then to look at it and feel if we can be better.
‘I think it helped but the players are the ones. As much as the players weren’t good in the first half against Arsenal, they were very good for a long period and were improving in that unbeaten run so it is a case of staying strong mentally and just bringing back the good basics to get you on that run, because we have a talented squad.
‘There is a lot of uplift in it but you have to keep hitting the basics day in day out. The few defeats we have had recently are because we dropped off a little and it is my job to pick it back up.'
Chelsea vs Aston Villa is live on Amazon Prime in the UK - kick-off 5.30pm