Lampard: “We were beaten by the better team”

Chelsea's manager, Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard: disappointed with Chelsea’s performance against Leicester City

Frank Lampard admitted Chelsea were beaten by a better team on Tuesday night.

The defeat took Chelsea to the eighth spot on the Premier League table and moved the Foxes to the top.

Wilfred Ndidi scored the first goal with just six minutes of play.

Chelsea rarely threatened, although they were denied a first-half penalty by VAR when Christian Pulisic went down under a challenge from Jonny Evans, only for the technology to confirm the offence took place just outside the area.

Lampard’s misery was swiftly reinforced as Leicester City broke clear to add a second four minutes before the break, James Maddison sweeping a cool finish past Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy on the half-volley from Marc Albrighton’s pass.

‘We were beaten by the better team,’ said Lampard after the game.

‘The general theme of our performance was slower, was more sluggish, was lacking confidence but also lacking a bit of desire to run. That comes down to confidence at times. When a team is confident, they look like Leicester, like we did a month ago.

‘They were sharper than us, they ran more than us and they showed real moments of quality. They looked like a team in form, we looked like a team out of form.

‘I’m disappointed with both the goals. It’s pivotal when you come to a team in good form you stay in the game early. We know we can compete with Leicester when we’re playing well, but when you go 2-0 down and you’re in a difficult period of form it affects the game hugely.

‘The first is a set-piece that we need to deal with better when people don’t do their jobs. The second is poor defending on the right-hand side of our defence. They were clear individual errors that will give goals away.’

Lampard considered the task his players face

‘There are players who are not playing as well as they should do. That was clear tonight. They are the only ones who can deal with that. I was a player for 20 years and I know when your form is not good, there can be a multitude of reasons why confidence drops.

‘The things you can deal with in front of you – how you work in training, how you prepare and how you deal with setback – are what define you.’

Lampard was asked if it was a worry he doesn’t know his best team

‘We are not the finished article. Sometimes there are players who impress and are playing well. Sometimes there are players fighting to get into the team. You can’t just conjure up your best team. Players have to make the spot their own.

‘In an ideal world you find a team that are rolling. We were 16 unbeaten and it is easy to not change the team when you’re getting results. When you’re searching for form and individual improvement, it’s normal the team doesn’t pick itself.’

Lampard was also asked about his future and if he is feeling the pressure after our recent run

‘I can’t get caught up in what the reaction will be. I took this job knowing there will be difficult times. We had a ban, we had young players, at the minute we have new players and we can see they are striving for form and to be settled into this team. We just have to fight. Everything was rosy in mid-November but it’s not so rosy now.

‘We are not the only team to suffer and I’m not the only manager to be put under this sort of pressure. The lucky thing for me is that I’m good at handling the pressure. I don’t like that we are not winning games, I want everyone to be talking about how we are moving towards the top of the league like we were a month ago.

I just have to concern myself with getting us out of this difficult period.’

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