Chelsea boss Frank Lampard laid into his players’ mentality after their winning run was ended by a last-gasp defeat at West Ham.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s 89th-minute decided earned a 3-2 victory for the relegation-threatened Hammers, ending Chelsea’s run of three straight wins since football’s restart.
Willian had given Lampard’s side the lead from the penalty spot just before half-time, but the London rivals went into the break level after Tomas Soucek cancelled out the opener.
Michail Antonio gave West Ham the lead six minutes after the restart, but there hope for Chelsea when Willian equalised with just under 20 minutes remaining.
But Lampard was left raging after Yarmolenko’s late winner meant Chelsea failed to capitalise on a defeat for their third-placed rivals Leicester.
“I wouldn’t say it was the story of our season because it’s been a good season, but there have been so many of these moments,” an angry-looking Lampard told Sky Sports.
“I explained it clearly to the players before – we go and have a good restart, three good results, opportunity today to go third – but you have to do every part of the game to get results in games like this.
“You can dominate possession which we did, for most of the game, but if there are moments where you switch off, if you go 1-0 up then make two or three errors towards them scoring a goal to go 1-1 just before half-time, you’re going to encourage teams on.”
Lampard had said his side had “got lucky” in their 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Leicester at the weekend – and following Wednesday’s defeat, the manager said he felt a defeat like this had been coming.
The result meant they stayed failed to leapfrog Leicester into third place in the Premier League, while their advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United in the race for the Champions League places is now just two points.
“It’s been there – I’m very aware of it – the players at those moments have to show an extra mentality, an extra bit to do the bits that see a game through like this when you have a lot of domination.
“I get to see the group as closely as anybody because it’s my job, and I’ve seen us play great games, but I’ve seen us have moments when there have been opportunities around us to capitalise on a situation, close a gap, jump a team.
“And that’s the difference at the moment, that shows how much work we’ve got to do.”
Lampard was asked if his side could have done better to defend Antonio’s sucker-punch decider, which came on the break as Chelsea went in search of a winner themselves.
“At that point you feel like we’re the team that’s going to win the game, we’re dominating,” the Chelsea boss replied.
“But you always know that Antonio he can stick it, and if we we’re going to open up to try and score that winning goal we have to be ready to run the other way and defend, and defend better. Yeah we could [have done better].”
The manager called for perspective with Chelsea still in a strong position in the race for the Champions League, but insisted it was a game from which his side should have taken three points.
“We’re two points ahead of Manchester United, who have been playing fantastic, they’re on a great run, they’ve beaten us twice and we’re two points ahead of them,” he said.
“Wolves are having a great season, they’re two points behind us. We’re one point behind Leicester who have had a great season.
“We’re upset because we’ve come here and we want to win the game and we’re in a decent position. So there’s no point in me being down, but I can’t help but say the truth, it’s a game we should win today.”
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