After a far from happy Saturday in Sheffield for the Blues, it was left to Tammy Abraham to take stock of a disappointing performance and result that leaves Chelsea’s top-four aspirations delicately poised.
Abraham was selected to lead the attack but the visitors were blunted by the Blades at Bramall Lane, kept off the scoresheet for the first time in 10 Premier League games while also conceding three for the second time in three away matches.
The defeat leaves Frank Lampard’s side third in the table, albeit with Leicester City and Manchester United now able to leapfrog us with wins in their games in hand this weekend.
The boss was brutally honest in his own post-match assessment, claiming the better side had won the contest, and Abraham admitted afterwards that the players did not need it spelling out for them by their manager.
‘He let us know how he was feeling after the game,’ admitted the 22-year-old. ‘We got into the changing room and we already knew ourselves so there wasn’t much for him to say.
‘We didn’t start the game sharp but you have to give credit to Sheffield United for how they disrupted the way we wanted to play. They scored an early goal which frustrated us and we didn’t react.’
The striker felt the team did not begin the game quickly enough and when David McGoldrick put Sheffield United in front inside 20 minutes, it gave the hosts some crucial momentum.
‘In games like this, we know we can’t start slow and that’s what we did,’ continued Abraham. ‘They got an early goal and that boosted them to put in a good performance.
‘We changed our formation at half-time and played a bit better but by then we’d already made a few mistakes and they had scored two goals.
‘We then threw bodies forward and we’re very vulnerable when we lose the ball high up the pitch. That’s something we need to improve on. We’re still a young, learning team but if we want to be the best and win titles that’s something we have to manage.’
Abraham also reflected on the race for Champions League qualification, with our rivals now handed the initiative and games running out. Chelsea host Norwich City on Tuesday before travelling to Anfield to take on Liverpool and then ending the campaign at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. There are cup ties against United and Bayern Munich to come as well.
‘It’s disappointing for us to drop points at this late stage but we can’t let it affect us too much,’ added Abraham. ‘We have important games ahead so we just have to go out there and win every one of them.
‘We have to be ready. We have some great sides coming up so we have to put this game to bed and go again, take the confidence from the season we’ve had and go into those games with full confidence.
‘It’s all about our reaction in the next game now. We had a disappointing result against West Ham and we reacted well against Watford so we need to do that again.’