Frank Lampard slammed VAR as "not good enough" after Giovani Lo Celso avoided a red card for an awful challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta in Chelsea's win over Tottenham.

The Blues ran out 2-1 winners at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso before Antonio Rudiger put through his own net as Spurs threatened a scarcely deserved fightback.

But prior to Tottenham's goal, the visitors might have been reduced to 10 men as Lo Celso might have been dismissed after planting his studs into Azpilicueta's shin.

VAR assessed the incident and decided against a card, although it was reported the official concerned later backtracked on this opinion.

The failure to make the correct call at the time did little to improve the mood of head coach Lampard, who was furious with the challenge.

"It's not good enough. It's not good enough, I'm sorry," he told BT Sport. "It's two VARs now in two games [after two goals were disallowed in the defeat to Manchester United].

"It's harder to speak about it when you've lost because people are claiming you're just shouting, but maybe you need to shout, because that's not good enough.

"Everybody in the football world saw that that was a red. And it's too late, too late to do that. The game should be over [at 2-0].

"I hate to call for red cards, but when they're endangering... That's a leg-breaker of a tackle.

"You get VAR brought into the game to see it and give the right decision. I'm not saying anything about the referees on the spot - it's not easy  on the spot - VAR's here to clear those up. I'm not surprised they've put it right, but it's not good enough."

Opposite number Jose Mourinho had little to add, although he saw acknowledgement of mistakes from the officials as progress.

"I feel sorry that they don't admit [mistakes] more times, especially when things go against us," he said. "I don't want to speak about it [VAR]."

Lampard was rather more positive about Chelsea's application, suggesting they had set standards to take forward in terms of their intensity.

"The aggression in our game, the pressing off the ball, the work-rate [was aggressive]," he said. "We've been having a tough time at home for different reasons.

"And when you're having tough times, there's only one option, and that's to fight. Sometimes, fighting [when it is] difficult, hanging on in the last few minutes when you shouldn't have been, those are the moments.

"We have to bottle that up now, that feeling, understanding that needs to be our behaviour daily. The way we played today needs to be our daily behaviour in training and the games coming up."

Olivier Giroud was delighted to mark his return to the Chelsea XI with a goal and said he was "so happy to help the team" in the victory against Tottenham.

World Cup winner Giroud was linked with a move away from Chelsea in January but stayed when no replacement was signed, while he had not scored a club goal since August.

But the veteran striker was handed a rare start on Saturday - just his third in the league this season - and opened the scoring en route to a 2-1 win.

Marcos Alonso added to Chelsea's advantage before a late Antonio Rudiger own goal, with the Blues holding on to leave Giroud to reflect on a hugely positive day.

"Wow, yeah, it was a good feeling for me, a good moment," Giroud told BT Sport of his goal. "I'm so happy for the team, to help the team to win this game today.

"It had been three months I didn't start, so it's a special day for me and for all of us."

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta added: "We have a squad and we need to be ready for every game. It's true that, when you don't play, it difficult.

"Everybody wants to help the team. But everybody keeps training hard, fighting to be in the team.

"The competition is what gives the team that extra per cent where everybody can push to the limit. Today it worked perfectly."

Azpilicueta was involved in one of the game's flashpoints as Giovani Lo Celso appeared to stamp on the defender's legs in an awful late challenge.

He avoided a red card following a VAR review, although the official in charge of the system reportedly later acknowledged Lo Celso should have been sent off.

"I'm not a player that likes to be on the floor, because I'm a defender, I'm tough, and I make fouls," Azpilicueta said.

"But it was not a normal foul. It was a clear stamp on my shin. I felt it straight away and I was surprised that it was not a red card and not even a yellow card.

"Obviously everybody can make mistakes, but when you have a lot of replays, I think it could be easier."

Cesar Azpilicueta said Chelsea lost their grip and control in the FA Cup win at Hull City, claiming players were too eager to put themselves before the team's best interests.

The Spaniard played the full 90 minutes against the Championship side, as Chelsea battled out a 2-1 victory on their travels.

Chelsea were dominant for the first 70 minutes and should have added to goals from Michy Batshuayi and Fikayo Tomori, but they allowed Hull too much of the ball after that point and almost paid the price.

A fortunate reply from Kamil Grosicki, whose free-kick took a big deflection off Mateo Kovacic to wrong-foot Willy Caballero, saw the Tigers claw their way back into the match with 12 minutes remaining.

Hull had chances to force a replay too, with Chelsea forced into some desperate and often untidy defending to remain ahead.

"With the chances we had, we cannot concede in these kind of circumstances and we have to control better," Chelsea captain Azpilicueta said.

"We know we have to improve our game if we want to improve as a team and go far, because tonight was a night we could have handled much better.

"It's not the first game where we didn't manage the game well, and at the end there we were on our box suffering. Sometimes we can be punished but tonight not, but we know we have to improve."

Speaking on BT Sport, Azpilicueta added: "For moments we stopped playing as a team and we started doing individual actions that is not our game and we got punished.

"And if we want to play against the best teams and to fight for trophies, we have to improve."

The absence of top scorer Tammy Abraham, who has an ankle injury, meant Chelsea were reliant on the likes of Batshuayi and Pedro – the latter could have scored at least twice but failed to convert chances.

Goalscorer Tomori, who headed in a free-kick from Ross Barkley to put Chelsea 2-0 up after 64 minutes, said Frank Lampard's men would have been able to cruise home if they were able to finish the openings they carved out when on top.

"In the first half we probably could have killed the game, but we didn't take our chances," Tomori said.

"We said at half-time that because we hadn't taken our chances we had to be solid at the back, try to score another one, but we need to be more clinical.

"I think my goal came at a good time, but it got a bit difficult towards the end when they scored the free-kick.

"It's a one-off game and teams want to go for it. They were never going to stop and we knew that.

"If we'd got a third goal it would have been a lot easier for us but we didn't manage to get that so we had to ride it out."

Frank Lampard was frustrated "basic errors" saw Chelsea twice surrender the lead against 10-man Arsenal to draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Jorginho opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 28th minute after David Luiz was shown a red card for sending Tammy Abraham, who had pounced on a slack backpass from Shkodran Mustafi, to ground in the box.

Gabriel Martinelli sprinted from well inside his own half to score a classy counter-attacking goal after the hour mark, but Cesar Azpilicueta looked to have clinched all three points when he turned home Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross with six minutes remaining.

However, Hector Bellerin, making his first start in over six weeks, got the better of a hobbling Abraham and found the bottom-left corner in the 87th minute.

"I am disappointed given the situation of the game. We completely deserved to go 1-0 up. For a little bit after that we were getting used to them with 10 men," Lampard told BT Sport.

"We created enough in the second half, it was the same story for us that we don't finish our chances and we made errors to give them two goals on the break. It probably shows where we are at. These sort of things don't lie.

"We work hard but basic errors when you should control the game can end up losing you points.

"It's not the slip from N'Golo [Kante], that can happen, it's that they get away from the edge of our box. That's a moment sleeping, people should know their jobs.

"And then the last goal, so easy to cut back. It's the sort of goal you see over the park, a right-back that moves it slowly onto his left foot and rolls it in the far corner. That can't happen."

Mikel Arteta moved Granit Xhaka to centre-back after David Luiz's dismissal and believes the spirit his team showed can help them close a 10-point gap to Chelsea and challenge for the Champions League places.

"Time will tell [if it's a turning point], but at least I saw a reaction. I demand from the players that they never give up, the circumstances don't matter, we have to keep playing with the spirit we showed in every game," Arteta said.

"I'm so proud of the team and how they reacted, how they stepped up when a team-mate makes a mistake, someone gets sent off, and they have to have their back.

"We thought about taking everybody off because the energy was going down and every five minutes somebody was cramping, so we changed our mind a few times. But it's a good point in the end considering the circumstances of the game.

"We are hoping to fight to stay in the race for the Champions League until the end and if you want to do that you have to come here and to win and they way they did it was brilliant."

Hector Bellerin marked his Arsenal return with a dramatic late goal for the 10-man Gunners as they salvaged a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

After six weeks out with a hamstring injury, Bellerin – named captain for the game by Mikel Arteta – curled home from 18 yards with three minutes remaining after Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had won the game for the Blues.

Chelsea took the lead in the 28th minute when Jorginho slotted home a penalty after David Luiz was shown a red card for bundling over Tammy Abraham in his attempt to bail Shkodran Mustafi out for a loose pass.

Arsenal did well to stay in the game and after Gabriel Martinelli cancelled out the opener, and Bellerin ensured Chelsea's jubilation following Azpilicueta's 84th-minute volley was short-lived.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh stunned Chelsea with a late overhead-kick to earn Brighton and Hove Albion a hard-fought 1-1 draw on New Year's Day.

The Iran winger ended his long wait for a first Brighton goal against Bournemouth on Saturday, celebrating with joyful tears, and his second quickly followed in a stylish start to 2020.

Chelsea looked to be easing towards a third straight Premier League away win after Cesar Azpilicueta's early strike, failing to add to their lead but largely comfortable at the other end.

However, Jahanbakhsh leapt into an outstanding volley with six minutes of normal time remaining, and Frank Lampard's fourth-placed side were clinging on by full-time.

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard confirmed Antonio Rudiger and captain Cesar Azpilicueta discussed the alleged racist abuse by Tottenham fans towards the former with Premier League officials after Sunday's match.

The Blues ran out 2-0 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but the contest was marred by an incident in the second half.

Spurs' Son Heung-min was sent off for kicking out at Rudiger and the German reported to Azpilicueta that he had been targeted by racist chants soon after.

Lampard subsequently confirmed the pair raised the issue with Premier League officials after the fixture, while Spurs have launched their own investigation.

"My understanding is that there was a racist comment, gesture or whatever that may be," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"I've not spoken to Toni about it, but I know Cesar was there as well and now they're speaking to the officials, as they should do afterwards.

"From our point of view, whether here or at Stamford Bridge, we want the right procedure in place, so we'll leave that to them [the authorities] to get it sorted."

It had been suggested Rudiger overreacted to Son's kick, but Lampard is adamant it was deserving of a red card and he also thinks Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was fortunate to stay on the pitch when conceding a first-half penalty for a wild and high challenge on Marcos Alonso.

"I think the penalty probably should've been a red card, because he's flown out at him with a sort of kung-fu kick.

"I don't think he meant it, so I think that was the answer from the referee [in terms of why he was only booked]. When you take someone out at that level, it can be a red, but fine we get the penalty.

"The Son one I think isn't that heavy, but it's a kick out and a kick out is a red card."

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta described his concern at continued occurrences of racist abuse after team-mate Antonio Rudiger reported an incident during the 2-0 win at Tottenham.

The Blues outplayed Spurs and scored twice through Willian, but an intense London derby was overshadowed by what occurred away from the pitch.

Rudiger was on the end of a petulant kick from Son Heung-min that saw the Tottenham player sent off, with the defender then reporting to Azpilicueta that there had been racist chanting directed at him.

Referee Anthony Taylor was informed and paused the game to inform the two coaches, with supporters also addressed inside the stadium with a message condemning racism.

"It's very clear every time we have meetings with the Premier League and with the referees before the game, we are told to report any incident with racism straight away to the ref," Azpilicueta told Sky Sports.

"Toni [Rudiger] came to me and told me he was listening to some racist songs towards him, so I just reported it to the ref immediately and left the ref to do his job.

"We are very concerned and very aware of this behaviour and, all together, we need to stop it.

"We went straight to play [after the red card], and the incident with Son and his red card was in the area where it happened.

"I hope everything gets clear and we eradicate [racism] as soon as possible. It is an issue not only in football but in life. Together, we need to work towards the eradication of the problem."

Reflecting on the win, Azpilicueta added: "It's amazing. It feels very good for us, for the fans, to come here and win after a run that was not the best, to keep a clean sheet. It's a very good win."

After his two-goal display, Willian said: "I'm happy, of course, with the two goals, but the most important thing is always to win the game. We did a brilliant job today and I'm happy for that."

Ashley Cole hopes Arsenal appoint interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg as their permanent new boss because "he knows the club inside out".

Ljungberg was put in temporary charge following Unai Emery's sacking two weeks ago, celebrating his first win on Monday with a 3-1 triumph at West Ham.

The 42-year-old is reportedly in contention to stay on at the Emirates Stadium helm until the end of the campaign while the club continue their search for Emery's successor.

However, Cole has called on Arsenal chiefs to consider sticking with Ljungberg - whom he played alongside for seven years - for the long term, rather than looking elsewhere.

"Every club has to change. They're in another transition period at the minute where they tried Emery and for whatever reason it didn't work out," Cole, speaking on behalf of Nissan, told Omnisport.

"Now Freddie is there and hopefully he can take over as permanent manager because he knows the club inside out. Freddie was my friend when I was at Arsenal and hopefully he can change some things there."

Another of Cole's former clubs, Chelsea, are also going through a transition period after appointing club legend Frank Lampard as head coach in July.

Lampard has showed faith in young players such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James, who all spent time on loan in the Championship last term.

And Cole, currently working as an academy coach at Chelsea, is full of praise for the work Lampard has done so far in the early stages of his Stamford Bridge tenure.

"I'm delighted," he said. "I was lucky enough to work with him at Derby County before he came here and I knew how good he could be.

"He's obviously come here and changed a few things, brought his own philosophy here, the way he wants to play. I think the team has done brilliantly so far, so no, no surprise how good he's done.

"The youth players have been great. A lot of people were probably saying he had no choice to play them, but I think he knows if they weren't good enough he wouldn't play them.

"But they've been brilliant, they've adapted well from playing in the Championship as most of them did last season and I think they are the driving force of this team at the minute."

The emergence of young talent has come at a cost for some players, though, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta recently losing his place at right-back to James.

"I wouldn't say his time is coming to an end," Cole said when asked about Azpilicueta's future. "Tactically sometimes maybe the manager wants fresh ideas, fresh players.

"It comes with the job, you can't play every game. It happened to me: Cesar took my place. He's still the Chelsea captain.

"It's not about just what he does on the pitch, it's how he motivates the players off it and I've been around that and seen how good he is at that. 

"I don't think it will worry him. It will probably spur him on to be even better and train even harder, which is hard to do because he is a beast at training."

Nissan are proud partners of the UEFA Champions League. UEFA ambassador Ashley Cole was at the Chelsea FC v LOSC Lille match on Tuesday 10th December, along with the UEFA Champions League Trophy, which is being driven around the UK by the next generation Nissan Juke.

Chelsea moved through to the Champions League knockout stage with a 2-1 win over a largely compliant Lille side at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta scored first-half goals as Frank Lampard's men bounced back from their weekend defeat to Everton by sewing up second spot in Group H.

The hosts knew three points would confirm their place in the last 16 and encountered little resistance until former Chelsea forward Loic Remy netted a 78th-minute consolation for the bottom-placed French side.

Valencia's victory over Ajax in Amsterdam denied Chelsea top spot, but Lampard will be satisfied after becoming the first Englishman to oversee the entirety of a successful group-stage campaign since Harry Redknapp, his uncle, did so with Tottenham in 2010-11.

Chelsea almost scored three times, with Christian Pulisic and Emerson Palmieri threatening, before Abraham notched his second European goal in the 19th minute.

Willian darted past Lille left-back Jeremy Pied and squared for the unmarked striker to apply a simple finish.

The lively Emerson tested Mike Maignan a second time and then supplied the corner that Azpilicueta headed home 10 minutes before half-time.

Maignan needed attention following a collision with Kurt Zouma but his good form continued with a double save from Pulisic and Willian upon the resumption.

The 24-year-old goalkeeper was eventually forced from the field with an ice pack applied to his knee in the 72nd minute.

Leo Jardim, Maignan's replacement, saved from Mateo Kovacic, and it was at the other end that the next goal arrived, Remy firing in after substitute Jonathan Bamba found space in the box.

It proved a minor hiccup for Chelsea, who held their nerve en route to a first Champions League home win in six matches.
 

What does it mean? Blues a threat to Champions League challengers

Chelsea will find it tougher against more qualified opponents in the next round but the team that draws them are unlikely to relish the challenge.

Willian, Abraham and Pulisic can be a real handful going forward, while Antonio Rudiger's return from a lengthy groin injury brought stability at the back.

Creative Willian leads way for Chelsea

No player has more assists in European competitions since the start of last season than Willian, who registered an eighth when he set up Abraham and was deserving of a goal himself.

Maia goes missing for Lille

Lille lost the battle in midfield, giving up almost 65 per cent of possession, and got little help from Thiago Maia, an ineffectual figure as he lost each of his six duels and completed just six passes in over an hour on the pitch.

What's next?

Chelsea will discover their last-16 opponents when the draw takes place in Nyon on Monday.

Before then comes Saturday's Premier League home game against Bournemouth, while Lille must regroup ahead of their Ligue 1 meeting with Montpellier.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta wished former manager Jose Mourinho all the best as Tottenham head coach.

Mourinho was appointed by Spurs on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club – who are 14th in the table – sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

The Portuguese tactician led Chelsea to three league titles across two spells at the helm, but will now look to salvage their rivals' season.

Mourinho may have joined Chelsea's rivals, but Azpilicueta – who won one of his two Premier League titles under the 56-year-old – sent well wishes.

"I can talk only when Jose was here at Chelsea with us," he told Sky Sports News.

"We won trophies, and now football moves on. I wish him all the best even though he goes to a rival.

"I have good memories with him and I have played many times under him and against him.

"Obviously when we play against each other we both want to win for our teams, but this is football. I wish him well."

Mourinho's first game in charge of Spurs will come against another London club, West Ham, on Saturday.

Chelsea battled back from three goals down to earn a 4-4 draw in Tuesday's thrilling Champions League clash with Ajax, who were made to pay for two red cards at Stamford Bridge as the hosts were denied a dramatic winner by VAR.

Frank Lampard's side conceded three first-half goals in the competition for the first time as Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga both put into their own net, either side of Jorginho and Quincy Promes netting.

Ajax opened up a 4-1 lead through Donny van de Beek early in the second half and were still 4-2 in front - Cesar Azpilicueta pulling one back - when Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were dismissed in the space of a minute.

Jorginho scored his second penalty of the match to reduce the arrears and substitute Reece James struck 16 minutes from time to leave Chelsea, who had a late Azpilicueta goal ruled out by VAR, above Ajax at the top of Group H.

Frank Lampard believes the next step for his youthful Chelsea side is to sustain their performance levels across the full 90 minutes of matches.

Chelsea picked up their fifth Premier League win in a row on Saturday with a nervy 2-1 victory against bottom of the table Watford at Vicarage Road.

The Blues looked comfortable after opening up a two-goal lead through Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic, only for Gerard Deulofeu to pull one back from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time.

And if not for a last-second save from Kepa Arrizabalaga to deny fellow goalkeeper Ben Foster the home side would have snatched a point, which Lampard admits is an area of concern.

"At times we are certainly producing some of the form that I want from us," he said.

"Our work off the ball in some games where we have been pushed hard, like Ajax away and Liverpool, has really pleased me.

"They have worked on that in training to a level where they are fit enough. In periods of games I am pleased with the way we combine and switch the ball. If I've got a gripe it is that we are not sustaining that for long enough at a time."

Chelsea also conceded twice in the final stages of last week's 4-2 win at Burnley and Lampard added: "Maybe it's football. Liverpool go away [to Aston Villa] and are behind for long periods, Manchester City, too.

"So maybe I'm being a bit demanding. You have to respect the opponents. It is not always as easy as it appears and football will always be a work in progress.

"We have young players who have been out on loan who have come in and are working with senior players, so things will always take time to get where you want them to get to."

Chelsea's players were aggrieved with referee Anthony Taylor's decision to award a penalty following a lengthy VAR review after Jorginho was adjudged to have fouled Deulofeu.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta is unsure if the technology is being used in the correct manner and wants referees to make more use of pitchside monitors.

"We have a lot of meetings about the VAR," he said. "There is a screen on the pitch for the ref to look and see why he made the decision not to whistle for a penalty.

"We are not using the system in the right way, which is something to help the referees make the right decision. They are human, the same as players.

"We make mistakes but why not use the whole system in the right way? That's my big point in this case and in other cases that we have seen. It could help."

Cesar Azpilicueta called for Chelsea to be realistic with Callum Hudson-Odoi but acknowledged the teenage winger is set to be a "massive player" for the club.

Hudson-Odoi has reclaimed his place in the Chelsea team after returning from a ruptured Achilles, starring against Newcastle United last week and then making his first Champions League start away at Ajax.

The England international was less effective in Amsterdam on Wednesday than he had been in recent weeks, but Frank Lampard's men earned a precious 1-0 away win.

Club captain Azpilicueta was not concerned by a quiet showing from Hudson-Odoi, recognising the inconsistency that comes with a young player who still has just six Premier League starts to his name.

Azpilicueta said: "We don't have to forget that Callum is 18 years old and his progression in the last 12-15 months, with an injury in between... We have to be realistic.

"The way he worked for the team, the way he always showed the ability to get the ball, to dribble, not to have any fear to hide in between the full back.

"I think Callum is a very important player for us. He's going to be massive player in the future for Chelsea but we have to accept the progression.

"Still, to be 18 years old and the way he's playing is amazing. The only way I can see is by his work rate going up and improving."

Hudson-Odoi is one of a number of academy graduates now in the Chelsea first team, with Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham earning international call-ups this season while Reece James is also breaking through.

Azpilicueta has been pleased with both the way the young stars are adapting to their new demands and with the support they are receiving from more experienced team-mates.

"The players who have more experience in these games try to help the young lads," he said. "For some of them, it's the first year in the Premier League, the first year in the Champions League.

"So we have to be a help for all of them, use our experience to keep them confident and make them express themselves the way they have been doing in the academy.

"It is very important for them to feel confident. It is the way we are working.

"But a lot of credit goes to them because they are good lads, they listen, they want to improve in every training session and learn from the more experienced players, the manager and the staff. It is the right way to keep improving."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admits Ross Barkley's injury "looks a bit nasty" but he is waiting for a doctor's assessment on Sunday.

Barkley was forced off after 43 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 Premier League defeat of Newcastle United, hobbling off the pitch with an ankle problem to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic.

The England international, who started in place of the injured N'Golo Kante, is now expected to have tests ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to face Ajax.

Cesar Azpilicueta also suffered a knock in the closing stages, but Lampard is hopeful the defender has not sustained any serious damage.

Speaking after the match, which was settled by Marcos Alonso's 73rd-minute strike, Lampard told reporters: "I think Azpi was alright, he didn't say anything when he came off.

"Ross turned his ankle. It looks a bit nasty at first glance, but the doctor wants to have a look at it tomorrow. I have no more on that."

When asked if he could be fit to face Ajax, Lampard replied: "I genuinely don't know. We will assess tomorrow."

Chelsea's win, their fifth in a row in all competitions, means they are fourth in the Premier League after nine matches.

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