Frank Lampard said Chelsea fell short with the “football basics” after their defeat to Brighton on Saturday – which is where he will start trying to turn their fortunes around.
Despite taking the lead through Conor Gallagher, Chelsea suffered a 2-1 defeat in the first home game of Lampard’s interim spell in charge. Danny Welbeck and Julio Enciso scored for the visitors to make it three defeats in a row since Lampard’s return.
Judging by the statistics, the result was fair. Chelsea only managed two shots on target in comparison to 10 by Brighton, who also enjoyed more possession.
Consequently, Chelsea remain in the bottom half of the Premier League table. Brighton are 10 points above them, for perspective.
Chelsea are next in action on Tuesday when they have a deficit to overturn in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. Clearly, they will have to address some issues that arose on Saturday quickly.
Speaking after the loss to Brighton, Lampard said: “I’m disappointed on every level. The better team won.
“They could have won by more. They played like a team. They’ve been together a long time.
“Not good enough. All the basic parts of football – to fight, to run – we were short on. Not a question of commitment as such.
“We have a big game on Tuesday. There’s no point being too down but we have to understand why today went the way it did.
“Some players physically couldn’t be able to play Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday. Some of those changes were forced and some were opportunities. In a modern day squad you have to be ready to come in.
“As a team we were short today. Where can we get better quickly? For me it’s the football basics.
“In football a story can change very quickly. Real Madrid in the Champions League is the pinnacle of football. There’s things I’ll say to the players that I’ll keep in house.
“Chelsea fans will be coming on Tuesday to see a team give everything to turn it round and that’s what we have to do.”
De Zerbi ‘lucky’ to work with Brighton squad
Meanwhile, Brighton counterpart Roberto De Zerbi acknowledged the result was the right one, calling himself lucky to coach his squad.
De Zerbi said: “I am really pleased for the performance. We deserved to win for the quality of the performance.
“I’m lucky to be a coach of these players. I am honest when I tell you these words.
“Julio is another because we have a lot of important younger players. I’m happy for him. It is an important goal for us and for him.
“I think we could play better after the goal and we suffer too much. After the second goal we played too deep, but we work to improve.
“We are losing too many players [to injury]. We have a very tough last period of the season. The next game we will play the semi-final of the FA Cup and this is a problem for us. But we have very strong players and they can play the structure of the play. We have to organise to achieve our target in the best way.
“I’m happy for the result, I’m happy because we made our fans happy, our club happy. But for me, I am starting to think about the semi-final now. If you are happy too much for the result in the past, you can’t do this in football.”
Brighton’s semi-final De Zerbi was referring to will be against Man Utd on April 23.