Chelsea are making great strides towards becoming the team they want to be – regardless of their latest 2-1 loss to defending champions Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Saturday – according to Frank Lampard.
With a tone of disappointed in every word, the 41-year-old manager admitted that throughout this season, his team has done enough on the field against powerhouses Liverpool and Manchester City to prove that they are closing the gap.
He’s not wrong.
It’s been minor details that have separated the league’s best from Chelsea: A heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Jurgen Klopp and company in Istanbul to start the season; the nail-bitting, one-goal loss to a red-hot Liverpool in late September; and the fresh loss to Manchester City, which Lampard feels they could have won. To the BBC:
“We were controlling the game, we were playing some great stuff and we felt in control but you can’t be absolutely in control against Manchester City.
“It was bad luck for their first goal, and absolute quality from Riyad Mahrez for the second and that changed the game.
“Maybe we were a bit slow with our movement at the back, I know we were giving them a good game but I am disappointed with the small details.”
Like Man City, the Blues had their chances inside the opponent’s box on Saturday, but the finishing that earned them six consecutive league victories coming in was nowhere to be found following Riyad Mahrez’s magic.
Now nine points behind leaders Liverpool and three behind Leicester City, the urgency to learn from the loss, get back up and rediscover the old form is front and center for Lampard and his players. Even though they’re getting better and closing the gap, there is still loads of work to be done at Stamford Bridge.
“We went toe-to-toe,” Lampard added. “The amount of time we got in their final third we didn’t have that little bit of quality. Games like that can be lost in the boxes.
“It feels like a long time since we lost a game. We know there is a transitional feel, but I know if we keep working we will be coming.”