Frank Lampard has admitted his Chelsea side were given a 'lesson' during their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, while also asking for patience during the club's ongoing rebuild.
City were irresistible in the first half at Stamford Bridge, scoring three times to put the game beyond their hosts in little over half an hour.
Ilkay Gundogan grabbed the first, swivelling on the edge of the box before firing a shot into the bottom corner, while Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne would also net before the break. Callum Hudson-Odoi would then grab a consolation in the dying minutes of the second half.
The defeat was Chelsea's fourth in six Premier League games and soon after full time it was reported that Lampard's job was in jeopardy.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, he admitted the City result and his side's recent poor form has been tough to take.
"The players felt a real lesson on the pitch in that first half," Lampard said (via the Telegraph).
"I had tough periods last year. Maybe there were mitigating circumstances so people didn’t view them the same...and to me they felt tough and rough because I am a perfectionist and I do want the best for this club so the first person who puts pressure [on me] is me and there were times last year when I felt pressure."
Despite spending over £200m in the summer, the result leaves Chelsea seven points adrift of joint leaders Liverpool and Manchester United, who both have a game in hand. They are also worse off, in terms of points, than they were after 17 games last season.
Lampard added that Chelsea's poor run could be partly explained by the influx of new talent this season, insisting the club would need to endure some 'pain' before returning to the summit of English football.
He said: “I was real after Leeds to say we are not title contenders, I am real now to say this club has to take some pain to get to where we want to get to because any rebuild and the [transfer] ban that we had the players we brought in takes pain. It means pain behind the scenes, pain on the pitch occasionally and fight and character and that’s how you build."