Chelsea manager Frank Lampard explained how his side switching off cost them two points this weekend, as they drew 2-2 with Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues were in cruise control at half time, going into the break 2-0 up thanks to Tammy Abraham’s brace. However, Callum Robinson pulled one back a minute into the second half, before Lampard's men conceded an 89th minute equaliser to lose a valuable two points at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking after the game, Lampard gave his immediate reflection on his side’s performance and assessed how they let three points slip. The Chelsea manager also reflected on his initial team selection, as well as his late substitutions in an attempt to see out the result.
On Chelsea’s Performance
Chelsea were close to securing back to back wins on Saturday, following last week’s hard earned victory at Norwich. Despite a promising first 45 minutes from the Blues, it was a poor second half that cost them at Stamford Bridge.
As quoted on the club’s official website, Lampard said: “It is not the defence, it is conceding as a team so the lack of concentration or mistakes for the goals are moments when you defend as a team, as much as you attack as a team.”
He added: “We concede because we switch off in a game that should be comfortably seen out at 2-0 up. I was clear with the players at half-time that this can either be 3-0, and okay then this could be nice, or a potential 2-2 on our hands.
“The disappointing fact is the first goal as much as anything because that allowed it to happen. We only have ourselves to look at as a group, not individuals.”
The contrast between Chelsea’s first half and second half performances was concerning, with the Blues going from being in cruise control to struggling to keep up.
Billy Gilmour Substitution
The final ten minutes were critical for the Blues, as they fought to hold on to their win. However, with just eight minutes to go, Lampard replaced Mateo Kovacic with Chelsea starlet Billy Gilmour, who came in to make his senior Chelsea debut.
Lampard’s substitution was heavily criticised, with the 18-year-old argued to be brought on for his first appearance in difficult circumstances. However the Chelsea manager defended his decision, explaining why he made the late change.
He said: “It was not bold because it was one for one in both positions. Kovacic was on his haunches and blatantly tired. Billy Gilmour is a midfield player who I had on the bench. I have faith in Billy to come though.”
Lampard added: “He is going to have a big future but we have an injury to N’Golo [Kante] in midfield who we all know is a fantastic player for us and Billy is on the bench, as simple as that. We have a ban and the squad is what the squad is.
“Other people can make what they want with that but I wasn’t being clever at 2-1, I was trying to see the game out.”
Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante Injury Updates
There were few positives to take from Saturday’s result, but off the pitch Lampard gave promising news on some of his players’ recoveries from injuries. He gave positive news on Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante, whose starts to the season have been blighted by injury.
On Rudiger, Lampard said: “I am trying to work all over the team to get the right combination and Rudiger now is fit after the international break so he gives me another choice.”
Rudiger has been sidelined with a knee injury since April, and has not featured for Chelsea since. However the German defender is set to be fully fit in the next few weeks, having completed a full 90 minutes with the Under-23s recently.
Lampard also gave some encouraging news on N’Golo Kante, whose game time has been restricted due to injuries. “I’m hoping N’Golo will be back for Wolves," he said. “The medical team have said to me that with no setbacks he should be, and that will be a big boost.”
The Chelsea manager also gave an update on Pedro, adding: “Pedro should be training by the middle of this week, so he should be fine for Wolves too.”
Chelsea travel to Molineux to face Wolves on 14 September after the upcoming international break. The Blues are then back at the Bridge in their Champions League opener, when they host Valencia three days later.