Frank Lampard questioned the “character” of his side following Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to West Ham on Saturday, but the 41-year-old insists back-to-back defeats in the Premier League still doesn’t warrant any “harsh reactions and judgements” from fans.
Aaron Cresswell’s curling effort at the start of the second half proved to be enough for West Ham to register their first win across all competitions since September 22 – a nine-game run which included their Carabao Cup loss to Oxford.
Two defeats on the bounce for Chelsea could see their hold on the top four shortened to just five points by the end of matchday 14, but Lampard insists the club’s form over the last week shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.
“I still believe in the squad,” Lampard stressed, quoted by The Sun. “But when you look at it today, we made some changes and we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to.
“That will be questions that are asked of us from the outside. It’s questions I will want asked for myself from the inside. We have shown some great stuff this season. I haven’t had to sit here many times and say: ‘We were below par today.’ Hardly at all.
“Today was one of those days. I don’t think it’s any time for harsh reactions and judgements across individuals or the team.
“It’s time for a look at a bit of character to see how our reaction is for Aston Villa.”
Lampard made a handful of changes as he looked to pick up three points against West Ham, with Willian, N’Golo Kanté, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen dropping out of the starting lineup from their midweek draw with Valencia.
“When we have a really taxing game where we give everything physically and arrive back late, I have to think about how fresh we can be,” he added. “We’re not going to get through this season with the same 10 or 11 players.
“The team that we had out there for sure has the quality to win this game. The fact that we performed below par is the reason that we didn’t.”