Chelsea learned lessons from Valencia loss - Lampard

By Sports Desk November 26, 2019

Frank Lampard says Chelsea have learned lessons from losing to Valencia at the start of their Champions League campaign.

Chelsea lost the opening game in Group H 1-0 to Valencia but will qualify for the next round if they beat the LaLiga side on Wednesday.

Lampard's side suffered a 2-1 away defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City at the weekend but prior to that game won seven games in a row on the road, including victories at Lille and Ajax.

The defeat to Valencia may therefore be seen as a turning point early in Lampard's reign, with the Chelsea boss backing his side to continue their recent improvement.

"I don't think it was them being raw, we have quality in this competition," he told a news conference on Tuesday. 

"The major feeling after the first game was the lesson that if you sleep for one moment you can lose. 

"We have shown moments where we have gone to tough places. The rules remain the same. It is a fantastic stadium to play football, but a difficult one.

"I believe in the group and the ability. I believe there is more to come. The loss in the first game has got us into this position. We have brought that knockout football earlier in the competition.

"The Champions League is the top level of European football. The prestige it holds. I loved playing in it. It is clear we want to be in this competition.

"I have watched a lot of Valencia, I expect a solid team. Having played in this stadium, it's not just the team. It's the support and atmosphere."

Chelsea are without Callum Hudson-Odoi, Marcos Alonso, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger, while Ross Barkley has not travelled with the squad.

The England midfielder was pictured topless in a Dubai nightclub during the international break having been involved in a late night row with a taxi driver earlier in the season.

"Two separate issues," said Lampard. "I backed him there and now.

"He showed a lack of professionalism. I don't think it is was a terrible thing he did.

"He has an injury, he has to work his way back in. I like Ross."

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    Abraham made a superb start to his breakthrough Premier League campaign, scoring 12 top-flight goals before the turn of the year, while also netting for the first time at senior international level with England.

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    Timo Werner's pending arrival from RB Leipzig further complicates matters for Abraham, who is yet to agree an extension to a Chelsea deal that expires in June 2022.

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    "It all came form how he was training and working through the week. You could see it in his demeanour, which meant he performed on the match days. That's what he just has to sustain all the time."

    Lampard has generally fielded more gushing enquiries over the group of Chelsea youngsters he has blooded this season.

    Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were selected alongside Abraham in Gareth Southgate's England squad, joining club team-mates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi in winning Three Lions caps.

    USA international Christian Pulisic is the current toast of the Stamford Bridge fanbase, while Reece James and Billy Gilmour offer more compelling evidence of a bright near future in west London.

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    "The players have to be given a couple of weeks off at the end of this season, however the Premier League want to arrange the start of next – whether we're in the Champions League, how far into it or not," he said.

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