EPL

Frank Lampard believes Chelsea standards have slipped as cheerless campaign ends

By Sports Desk May 28, 2023

Frank Lampard said he believes the standards at Chelsea have dropped after he signed off as interim manager with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle.

The result means Lampard failed to register a single home victory during his second spell in charge, with his last win as manager at Stamford Bridge still a 3-1 triumph over West Ham in December 2020.

It took a Kieran Trippier own goal, the defender deflecting the ball into the net midway through the first half, to cancel out Anthony Gordon’s early strike.

This was at least an improved performance from Chelsea, particularly in the second half where they played with an attacking initiative rarely seen under Lampard.

The young trio of Noni Madueke, Lewis Hall and substitute Carey Chukwuemeka especially played with the maturity to take charge of the game and drive their team on, after a first half in which Newcastle had made Chelsea look ordinary.

That has happened too often this season, especially at home where there have been six Premier League defeats and only 20 goals scored, the same number as Bournemouth and three fewer than relegated Leicester.

Lampard said he had recognised early in his tenure that leadership and cohesion were lacking among a bloated squad, and hoped that a new manager – expected to be Mauricio Pochettino – would be able to slim down and galvanise the first-team group.

“The standards collectively have dropped,” said Lampard. “I can be honest about that now that it’s my last game, I might not see some of them that much anymore.

“The standards of the collective for a club like Chelsea have to be at the maximum or you won’t be physically competitive enough, or you won’t be able to play at a high level… high speed in a way that the Premier League demands.

“If you’re not together in the dressing room, and you’re not vocal in the dressing room, driving each other and competitive because I want your place and you want mine. Any top team has to have that.

“When I came in very quickly I could see that wasn’t there enough. Of course a very good manager will help that, but everyone has to take responsibility, players and club alike.”

Chelsea’s form has nosedived since Lampard was appointed on April 6, with problems that had been apparent under former manager Graham Potter having only been exacerbated.

Todd Boehly’s whirlwind transfer activity during his first year of ownership has produced a squad of 34 first-team players that both managers have said proved hugely challenging to work with.

It has contributed to Chelsea recording a first bottom-half finish since 1996 and a record low tally of points and goals scored in the Premier League era.

“It’s clear there are things I would see that need to improve,” said Lampard. “A new manager will see with his own eyes and the beauty of it is he’ll have a pre-season to work with the team, they need that.

“We’re not physically competitive enough. Newcastle are and we haven’t been. That’s a strong opinion that I have.

“The squad has been too big, that’s the biggest challenge I’ve found day to day, coming in and working with big numbers, and with players who for whatever reason are disillusioned, whether for right or wrong that they’re not playing, (or) they might be leaving. Those situations can maybe be sorted out now and they have to be.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, whose team had already secured qualification for next season’s Champions League ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, said a first season in 20 years in Europe’s top competition would help loosen the transfer restrictions placed on his club by Financial Fair Play rules.

“FFP will impact what we do this summer,” he said. “Without Champions League football it would have been difficult to do much in the market at all. The fact we have that has given us a bit of a lift.

“The most important people are the players we already have. I’m the type of manager who tries to get the best out of everyone under our employment. We’re looking to add quality, we’re not huge payers of wages in the Premier League, it makes it hard to attract the very best players.

“We need more depth. With three games in a week next year we’re going to be stretched.”

Related items

  • The Champions League is getting better and tougher – Man City boss Pep Guardiola The Champions League is getting better and tougher – Man City boss Pep Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola claims winning the Champions League is getting tougher every season.

    Guardiola finally ended Manchester City’s long wait for European glory when he guided the club to success in the competition last season.

    It had been City’s 12th successive campaign in the Champions League and their seventh under Guardiola, who had previously won it twice as Barcelona boss.

    City will look to cement their place in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition on Wednesday when they go into the second leg of their last-16 tie against FC Copenhagen holding a 3-1 aggregate lead.

    City manager Guardiola said: “It’s getting better and tougher. Always I had the feeling, when I arrived in Barcelona in the first years that OK, we arrive in semi-finals.

    “Now to reach the semi-finals is so difficult. The teams are better, managers are better.

    “Everything is even more difficult than when I was a football player.

    “But at the end, the better teams always go through. When you play two good games, you have more chance to go through.”

    Guardiola insisted, however, his triumphs with City were no more special than those he achieved with a Lionel Messi-inspired Barca side in 2011 and 2013.

    He said: “I would not say that. Otherwise we would undermine what we achieved in Barcelona and I would not like that.

    “Every moment is every moment. Every title you win is difficult. It’s not taken for granted.”

    City outplayed Copenhagen in the first leg at the Parken Stadium three weeks ago and could have won more comfortably than the scoreline suggests.

    Yet Guardiola maintains the tie is not over and will not allow focus to switch to Sunday’s crunch Premier League showdown with title rivals Liverpool yet.

    He said: “Selection will depend on how people recover from the last game and that’s all.

    “In this competition it is so really important to be focused because in football everything can happen and you have to be aware of that.”

  • Erling Haaland ‘really happy’ but refuses to rule out move from Manchester City Erling Haaland ‘really happy’ but refuses to rule out move from Manchester City

    Erling Haaland has refused to rule out a move from Manchester City despite stressing his happiness at the club.

    The prolific Norwegian was linked with Real Madrid earlier this season and he did not dismiss the idea he may one day move at a press conference on Tuesday.

    Showing an awareness of media operations, the 23-year-old even said this could be the main news line to come from his appearance in front of reporters to preview Wednesday’s Champions League clash against FC Copenhagen.

    He was therefore especially keen to point out how satisfied he is with life at City, for whom he has scored a staggering 80 goals in 84 appearances since joining in the summer of 2022.

    Haaland said: “I’m really happy, especially with the people that I’m surrounded with – the manager, the directors, the board, they are a group of amazing people and I’m really happy, I have to say.

    “If I say this now it’s probably going to be a massive headline – tomorrow you never know what the future brings. But I’m happy. You can write this but you also have to write everything I said before! I’m happy.”

    Haaland is contracted to 2027 but refused to comment on whether he might sign a new deal.

    The former Borussia Dortmund striker said: “My focus mainly now is on the pitch, there’s a lot of games.

    “Two days ago was the Manchester derby, now Champions League. Sunday is Liverpool. I think I should focus on that. I don’t think I should focus on anything else at the moment.”

    Haaland helped City win a glorious treble in his remarkable first season at the club but getting his hands on so many trophies has not dulled his appetite to win more.

    He said: “You can think about it in two ways. One thing, I came here and won it all, and the other thing, I’m 23 years old and I won everything and I got the taste of it, how it is to win everything.

    “How I work is that when I feel this is, I want to win it again. Easy as that.”

    Such has been Haaland’s stunning impact at City that him missing a chance can now create headlines.

    This was the case on Sunday when he contrived to volley over an open goal from close range against Manchester United, although he did later get on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win.

    Haaland said: “People say I’m good at scoring goals but I missed the biggest chance in the world ever a couple of days ago.

    “Yes, I’ve been missing, I missed a lot of chances. I will still keep on missing chances, but I will still keep on scoring goals.

    “I’ll probably miss a big chance in the future as well, and people are going to criticise me, but what can I do then? Should I think of that? No, just focus on scoring more goals and to help the team.”

    Haaland admitted when he was younger such a miss would have bothered him a lot but now he has learned to bounce back from disappointments.

    “It’s been a challenge for me,” he said. “I remember when I was young I would start crying if we lost and I missed a lot of chances.

    “I’ve been working on it a lot and in the end everything is in here (taps head).”

  • England and Republic of Ireland drawn in same group for Euro 2025 qualifying England and Republic of Ireland drawn in same group for Euro 2025 qualifying

    England and the Republic of Ireland have been drawn together in the same group for Euro 2025 qualifying.

    Sarina Wiegman’s defending champions and Eileen Gleeson’s Girls in Green will also play against France and Sweden in Group A3, with matches to take place from April to July.

    Scotland are in Group B2 with Serbia, Slovakia and Israel, while Wales will face Croatia, Ukraine and Kosovo in B4 and Northern Ireland take on Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Malta in B3.

    The winners and runners-up from the four League A groups will qualify automatically for the Euros finals, joining a Switzerland side already assured to be there as hosts.

    The third and fourth-placed teams will enter the play-offs, along with teams finishing in the top three in each of the four League B groups.

    If Switzerland finish in the top three of Group B1, the best-ranked fourth-place team from League B will go into the play-offs.

    There will also be five group winners and three best-ranked runners-up from League C, making 28 teams in total, in a two-round play-off system that will start in October and see seven sides advance to the finals.

    The Lionesses claimed the first major trophy in their history when they won the Euros on home soil in 2022 under Wiegman.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.