Frank Lampard admits Chelsea are going through a rough patch as they finished 2020 with just one win in five Premier League games.
Having started the winter season in great shape, Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa means they are now six points behind leaders Liverpool after playing one more game.
Lampard made six changes to the side which lost 3-1 to Arsenal on Boxing Day, a game that prompted the Chelsea boss to criticize his players, but they were only able to take one point as Anwar El Ghazi called off the opening match of Olivier Giroud.
Lampard, however, said he was happy with what he was seeing on his side.
“It’s a draw against a good team, the performance was good, we deserved to win the game but we don’t. We went through a difficult period, which we want to improve. We saw a lot of signs of good attitude in the team, without having it quite in the last third.
“It forces us to do more of the same, because it’s a tight season. We had a bit of a hard time, and today I saw some really good signs that I liked.
“I still had ideas to make changes, because we have a team of players ready to play. The changes were to try to keep a little balance in the team, and try to cool off. I was happy, I’m not disappointed with anything tonight other than the fact that we conceded that goal and didn’t score another.
“I was happy with the players who came and happy with the attitude.”
He also said Amazon: “It’s a tough little time, and we have to fight, but I can’t ask for more from what the players gave, from the way they worked here.”
Villa leveler has sparked complaints from Chelsea; players initially called for a foul on Jack Grealish’s Andreas Christensen in the preparation, but after the game Lampard said there was a handball from Matt Targett near the dugout before the goal.
“I think there was a handball, and the fourth official was very close to us. I don’t know (why) it was not given, it should have been handball.
“I didn’t see the Christensen-Grealish incident. I didn’t think there was much at the time, I’m not sure if it was a fault or not. I didn’t see it again. this referee. “
Lampard also says it is no coincidence that Chelsea’s drop in form has aligned with Hakim Ziyech’s absence due to injury, after contracting a hamstring tendon problem against Leeds in early December.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence. You can’t completely trust it. But with Hakim, the way he played, he was very effective in terms of assists, of accidental creation, and we were very fluid at the time he got injured against Leeds.
“Where is he? There is a possibility that he will be suitable for Man City if it works.”
Chelsea’s next game is set to be against Manchester City on January 3, but their match with Everton on Monday night has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at City.
Chelsea will host Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday January 3 at 4:30 p.m., live on Sky Sports Premier League, before hosting Morecambe on Sunday January 10 in the FA Cup third round at 1:30 p.m.
Villa now travels to Manchester United on New Years Day at 8 p.m., live on Sky Sports Premier League, before hosting Liverpool in the FA Cup third round on January 8 at 7.45 p.m.