Sunday, December 29, 2019
Lampard: "We were so awful for 30mins"
Frank Lampard slammed his Chelsea side’s ‘lethargic’ performance in the first half of their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday – but was delighted with their eventual comeback.
Arsenal led at half-time at the Emirates through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s deft header, butJorginho and Tammy Abraham scored late on to turn the game on its head. Jorginho had been brought on for left-back Emerson Palmieri with less than 35 minutes on the clock.
The result kept Chelsea in fourth with Arsenal dropping to 12th, but Lampard was clear his side would not be allowed to replicate their first-half performance.
"We were so awful for 30 mins,” Lampard told BBC Sport.
“Slow, lethargic, nervous. The opposite of against Tottenham [who Chelsea beat 2-0].
“We gave Arsenal everything they wanted. We made the change early, felt it had to be done. Second half we dominated.
“From my point of view, you can accept a missed pass but you can't accept lethargy in a London derby. The players were told that and they delivered.
“The second half was nothing to do with tactics; it was all to do with spirit and desire.”
Nevertheless, Lampard came in for plenty of praise for his tactical switch during the game.
While Emerson would have been disappointed to find himself hauled off after little more than half an hour, his replacement Jorginho orchestrated Chelsea’s midfield for the rest of the game – though some suggested he should have been sent off.
"After 10 minutes or so it was clear that Arsenal had seen us play against Tottenham and made it into a back five instead of a back three,” Lampard added.
“They were on top and there was a lack of balance to our team. The sub gave us another man in midfield and gave us more urgency.”
Despite the win, Lampard is aware his side have a long way still to go if they are to realise his own lofty ambitions – starting at home.
Chelsea have lost three of their last four Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, most recently against Southampton on Boxing Day, with their next home fixture coming against Burnley on January 11.
"I still haven't bounced back from Boxing Day mentally,” Lampard said.
“In our next home games, we'll do everything we can to turn the corner.
“We're still in fourth and want more and the home games have been different, so we have to focus on them when they come around."
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