EPL

Frank Lampard insists Chelsea need to develop a ruthless streak in attack

By Sports Desk May 07, 2023

Frank Lampard believes Chelsea need to become “killers” in attack in order to build on an overdue victory and begin bridging the sizeable gap to the Premier League’s leading clubs.

The mid-table Blues on Saturday ended a nine-match winless run, including six successive defeats since Lampard was reappointed, by beating Bournemouth 3-1.

Conor Gallagher headed the visitors in front at Vitality Stadium but, after Matias Vina’s leveller, they were largely toothless going forward until late finishes from Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix halted the prolonged slump.

While a top-half finish is the extent of Chelsea’s potential this season, they will hope to be challenging for Champions League qualification at the very least next term.

Interim manager Lampard, who is due to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, feels the Blues must develop a ruthless streak in order to do that and suggested the club may need further recruits, despite having already spent more than £600million on transfers since Todd Boehly’s takeover.

“We controlled a lot of the game,” he said of the south-coast success.

“Without the killer instinct, we were running inside their box a lot in the first half, we had a lot of overloads on the side of the pitch.

“And as this team develops or as we add to the squad I think you have to be more killers at the top end of the pitch.

“If you look at the top half of the table, that’s what you will see all across it. At the moment, we haven’t got that. But you saw nice individual performances in a positive direction.”

Two-time European champions Chelsea sit in 11th position, a staggering 40 points behind leaders Manchester City and well adrift of the top four.

Travelling supporters celebrated the long-awaited triumph with self-deprecating cries of ‘we are staying up’, having earlier directed derogatory chants at American businessman Boehly.

Lampard backed the club’s owners to eventually be successful following a dismal first campaign at the helm.

“The fans have been used to a lot of success, they want a lot of success,” said the former Blues midfielder.

“What I do know is the fans will stick with this club. I do know there are a lot of intentions to take this club where we want to get it to again.

“There’s not one club out there of our size that hasn’t had transitional periods.

“People would give a left arm to have the success we’ve had for 20 years, so if it’s our year where we have to go again and work a bit and try and come back stronger next year, everyone stick together, then I’m sure we will.”

The west London club move on to meetings with relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, reigning champions City, and Champions League hopefuls Manchester United and Newcastle.

Lampard is concerned left-back Ben Chilwell will be unavailable for the run-in after he limped off against the Cherries.

“It’s a hamstring injury,” he said.

“We don’t know if it’s serious but with a hamstring injury at this stage of the season it’s clearly a worry for the last few games.”

Bournemouth began the weekend level on 39 points with Chelsea and had the better chances for a winner before suffering late disappointment, with Badiashile’s pivotal strike coming from Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick into the penalty area.

The Cherries have the worst record in the division for conceding goals from set-pieces, an issue head coach Gary O’Neil is eager to address.

“We’ve struggled with defending balls into the box,” he said. “We’re obviously aware of it and it’s something we need to improve.

“I’m hopeful we can put some work in now week to week but then we can put things in place for next season to make us much stronger in that area.”

Related items

  • Ange Postecoglou: I’ve no interest in filming a new docuseries at Tottenham Ange Postecoglou: I’ve no interest in filming a new docuseries at Tottenham

    Ange Postecoglou has no interest in following the lead of Newcastle and other clubs, which includes his own, of allowing the TV cameras inside the Tottenham dressing room to film a documentary.

    Spurs return to St James’ Park on Saturday for the first time since their 6-1 thrashing last April, which features in a recent docuseries about the north-east club.

    Episode three of the four-part series focuses on a match which proved the nadir of a sorry season for Tottenham and subsequently resulted in the appointment of Postecoglou in June.

    This documentary about Newcastle is the latest in a collection of sports series by Amazon Prime, which includes Spurs’ 2019-20 campaign where then-manager Jose Mourinho predictably proved a TV star, but the current coach in the hotseat has no such burning desire.

    “Nah, unless you want a cure for insomnia, mate. Put it on late at night and dream yourself away,” Postecoglou replied when asked if he would feature in a behind-the-lens documentary.

    “I’ve probably watched… I watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die, it was good.

    “(Not Tottenham) because I just think it becomes a bit manufactured. I’d be very surprised if you get a real sort of glance.

    “Look, who am I to say? I’m no movie critic. Maybe people like them, but not for me. I love documentaries, but nah.”

    The Newcastle documentary is not the only footage Postecoglou has no interest in viewing.

    He has also declined to watch back Tottenham’s five-goal humbling away to Eddie Howe’s team last season, which resulted in Spurs dismissing Cristian Stellini after he had stepped up on an interim basis to replace Antonio Conte, who left a month earlier.

    Postecoglou added: “I might have watched individual players in that game but I wouldn’t have watched the game as a reference point because it’s totally different.

    “It’s a different set of circumstances, different manager. I’m really reticent to judge and try to figure out what someone else thinks because I’m not in their shoes on a daily basis.

    “I have never used those kind of things and also, irrespective of what has happened in the past, I have more than likely been brought in to do something differently.

    “I watched all the players individually through the whole season to do my research on the players I was inheriting, but there wasn’t a lot for me to be gained from watching matches and trying to get some reference points as to how that’s going to affect what I am going to do.”

    Spurs travel to Newcastle in pole position to claim Champions League football after they leapfrogged Aston Villa last weekend to take control of the battle for fourth.

    Postecoglou has often cited the Magpies as an example of why qualifying for Europe’s elite competition is not a guarantee of long-term success, but was happy to talk up the potential of the Tottenham squad on Friday.

    “That’s the exciting thing for me with this group – we’ve got a real core and there’s still so much growth in them,” he explained.

    “Invariably, it’s their first season in the Premier League or they’re young in age and they’ve adapted so well at a big club where there are expectations.

    “It’s not like they’re going to fly under the radar by doing two or three years before moving to a big club. They’re under the spotlight straightaway.

    “I have been pleased with that, with the way the guys have accepted the challenge of playing for the club and challenging them to play in a certain way – and it’s going to expose them in many respects – but they’ve not shied away from that.”

  • Erling Haaland ‘extremely happy’ at Man City despite criticism – Pep Guardiola Erling Haaland ‘extremely happy’ at Man City despite criticism – Pep Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola has dismissed Erling Haaland’s critics and insisted the Manchester City striker is continuing to make a big impact.

    Haaland has scored 30 goals for City this term but only one in his last five. After Roy Keane last week claimed the Norway international was comparable to a League Two player in his general play, Jamie Carragher this week described him as “the ultimate luxury footballer” and said he was not world class.

    But asked if he was happy with Haaland’s all-round contribution, Guardiola said: “A lot. He helps us to make more spaces in the areas and his contribution has been exceptional since the day he arrived last season.”

    Guardiola said pundits “can do whatever they want”, but insisted he was only interested in the performance of his team, who are still in contention to repeat last season’s treble after drawing the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid 3-3 on Tuesday night.

    City can go top of the Premier League for 24 hours at least if they beat Luton on Saturday, and face an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea next weekend.

    “We are quite similar to last season,” Guardiola said. “We scored four goals, four goals, three goals in the last three games, 11 goals in three games.

    “And (Haaland) helped us score some of them (by) creating lots of spaces for the other ones to score the goals. I saw in his face, in what he said after the game, in the locker room, he was extremely happy (in Madrid).

    “It was a good result, let’s see what happens next Wednesday. Now the target is Luton.”

    Bidding to win the Premier League for a fourth straight season, City remain locked in a tight race at the top. They start the weekend a point behind both Arsenal and Liverpool, with their rivals not in action until Sunday.

    City have twice won the title on the final day of the season under Guardiola, but this is the first time they have faced a three-way title race so late in the campaign.

    “We know what we have to do,” Guardiola said. “We’ve done it. The people say, ‘you’ve done it, so you’re going to win’. No, it’s not about that. But we have done it and know exactly what we have to do.

    “The players will be ready. There is no doubt about that. We know what we are playing for.”

    Although a treble repeat is still possible, there is a sense City have not been at the same standards this term, with injuries taking a toll.

    “(The players) know how tough it has been this season for many reasons, maybe one of the toughest seasons we have faced for sure,” Guardiola added.

    “We know exactly internally how difficult it has been in many, many moments this season and we were still there, we were there. I know the players will be ready.”

    After Tuesday’s match in Madrid, Rodri had said he was in need of a rest after his 41st appearance of the season. Guardiola indicated any player who wanted a breather need only ask, but that he expects the 27-year-old Spain midfielder to be available to face Luton.

    “It is normal,” Guardiola said. “If one player feels that, what is the problem? All the teams who play in the latter stages of all competitions, Champions League, Europa League, fighting for qualifications, or against relegation, all have the same problem with the amount of games…

    “I’m pretty sure Rodri will be ready. I know him. After the game he was tired because it was tough, the game against Real Madrid. He came from Crystal Palace and it was really tough as well.

    “But I know him. He will arrive and say, ‘I’m fine, I’m ready’.”

  • It would help – Erik ten Hag hopes Man Utd sign proven goalscorer in the summer It would help – Erik ten Hag hopes Man Utd sign proven goalscorer in the summer

    Erik ten Hag has said Manchester United signing a proven goalscorer this summer “would help” – while stressing the striking options with which they entered the current season “should have been enough”.

    Having last term finished third in the Premier League and won the Carabao Cup in their first campaign under Ten Hag’s management, United have subsequently underwhelmed.

    With seven games to go in the league, they lie sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, as well as fifth-placed Aston Villa, and have the lowest goals-for tally in the top 10 with 45.

    Twenty-one-year-old striker Rasmus Hojlund has netted 13 times in all competitions since being signed last summer to join an attack also featuring Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

    Rashford has eight United goals to his name for 2023-24, and Martial – sidelined since groin surgery in January, with Ten Hag unsure if he will be available again before the end of the season – two.

    Asked at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Bournemouth how vital it was that United sign a proven hitman this summer, Ten Hag said: “I think it would help.

    “In this plan we constructed we should have had enough goals. You count on goals from Rashy – last season he scored 30. You count on goals from Martial – in my first season he played very well and also in very important games he had a high impact on our performances.

    “And then bringing a goalscorer like Rasmus Hojlund in, it should have been enough goals.”

    Sir Jim Ratcliffe became minority owner at United in February, taking control of football operations.

    A change was confirmed this week as the club on Tuesday announced John Murtough was stepping down as football director, and United are looking to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth and Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox.

    Ten Hag said with regard to the summer: “We are working in the background on plans with scouting. We are working on our plan, the plan is ready, but it has to execute, and I trust the new ownership that they will work as quick as possible and bring new good structures and that they can execute.

    “We have good plans, I think also with quality players. You see now about recruitment: (Andre) Onana is doing very well, Rasmus Hojlund, everyone is seeing his big talent and potential. (Lisandro) Martinez, everyone was hugely happy with him, and there are others.

    “So the recruitment is good. But if they (new directors) have even better ideas, we are always open. If you have options but they come with better options we are open.

    “But we have a way we want to play, so we know our profiles, so it has to match the profiles we want.”

    As well as the changes to the club hierarchy, the season has seen United – currently assessing Rashford, as well as midfielder Scott McTominay ahead of the Bournemouth game – hit by considerable injury problems, while there have also been other issues involving players such as that which led to Jadon Sancho leaving for Borussia Dortmund on loan in January.

    Asked about the challenges, Ten Hag said: “The thing is, you have to be realistic – as a manager, it’s like a minister, you don’t have anything in your hands but at the end of the day, and that is what you have to accept, you are responsible for everything. And I take that.

    “Some things… it just happens, and then you have to make the best out of it.”

    He added: “This business, this industry, is about results and many see only the results, but you have to see also what’s underneath. I see underneath and I see the potential. I see the direction. So I’m positive in the way we want to go, and we will be successful.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.