Frank Lampard admitted his Chelsea side weren’t there “usual selves” despite emerging victorious, and voiced his thoughts on the sometimes controversial tactic of hooking young players early in a match.
Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought victory over Leicester City.
Both sides were a step or two off their peak in the clash, but Lampard was quick to point out the result was far more important that the performance in a cup setting.
Speaking to BBC Sport following the victory, Lampard said: “The result was satisfying and getting to the semis was satisfying.
“We weren’t our usual selves today. We were below what we usually produce. But I am happy with the result. We won the game and must learn from some of the mistakes in our game.
“I don’t want to sound too down after this. You have to show the grit to get a win when you don’t play well.
“We go on to the next one. We can park the Cup and focus on getting the league wins to be in the Champions League.”
Lampard made a triple switch at half-time, bringing on eventual match winner Ross Barkley. In doing so, he hooked young players including Billy Gilmour.
“It is a learning experience,” he added.
“I could have taken more off, or other players off. I am not pulling those out on their own.
“They will be top players for this club and have top careers. But if I have to do something in games I will do it. It was one of those games where I had to do something. They will take it on the chin.
“We were gifting Leicester space and ease to win the ball back. We are fortunate they didn’t take those chances. All thee subs, in their own way, livened up the performance.”
On Ross Barkley, Lampard beamed with praise: “I love to work with the midfield players and the ones who want to get forward. Ross has a better left foot than me. He is always going to be a goal threat.”
Match winner Barkley admitted Chelsea hadn’t shown their best, but pointed to their attacking resiliency as to why the opening goal eventually came.
“I thought we weren’t at our best,” he told BT Sport. “There were a lot of things we could have done better.
“When you get in the box the chances are there. Getting in the box we’re always going to get goals. We won the game, it’s the most important thing.
“At half-time we said it’s not good enough and to be vocal on the pitch, and we improved.”