Frank Lampard: ‘Passive’ Chelsea are ‘too nice to play against’ but the players ‘do care’
Frank Lampard believes Chelsea are “too nice to play against”, while club captain Cesar Azpilicueta says this is “the worst run” the club have been on since he joined in 2012.
The Blues were comfortably beaten 3-1 by London rivals Arsenal on Tuesday evening.
This result was Chelsea’s sixth defeat in as many matches since Lampard returned as caretaker manager and means the Gunners now have 78 points, which is double the tally of their London rivals; which is 39, by the way, if basic arithmetic is not your forte.
It has been a woeful season at Stamford Bridge, and Lampard was brutally honest in his post-match interview.
The former Blues midfielder says his side are too “passive” but insists his players do care.
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“We weren’t good enough, we were too nice to play against, too passive,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “In possession we weren’t playing balls over their press, or winning second balls.
“Chelsea have been a big success for 20 years domestically and in the Champions League, at the moment we’re not in that position. But from the moment I’ve been here it’s been evident we’re too nice as a team.
“We can’t change things overnight but we better get their quickly because we have another game at the weekend and games to come.
“The passive nature of our game you can attribute it to many things. There’s the easy go-to that the players don’t care enough, but they do care.
“You can be low on confidence but still show a dynamic side to your games. All the things we spoke about before the game we didn’t do.
“We’re a little bit conditioned at the moment which makes us too nice to play against. Maybe it was a different gap years ago but that’s football.
“We have to think of ourselves and perform to a level. From what this season tells you, from start to finish, we have to find the reasons quickly. It’s not an overnight fix.
“This is something that really has to be corrected. There are a lot of parts to it, Arsenal are a team that has been building for three years. They work on an idea and a way. For me it’s impossible to come in for three weeks and work on those things.
“The main answer is simple. We have to do the basics better and then we’ll get some progress. It’s clear tonight for me. The first half is nowhere near good enough. But it’s the reality. It’s what I’ve come in to.
“Football moves quickly, we have to be aggressive about it. It’s a collective, a performance. I don’t believe players aren’t caring. I don’t believe that. The standards are clear.”
Defender Azpilicueta added that this season is the worst it has ever been since he joined from Marseille 11 years ago.
“The first half we were quite passive,” he said. “We know they are a dangerous team and will bring a lot of people forward but we should’ve done better with the ball.
“In the second half we showed a bit of a reaction, in the first half we were far from there. It’s tough for everybody, we’re not in a good position. The reality is what we have now. We have to go through it.
“We are all disappointed, the fans at the club. We have to take responsibility and that’s the only way. It’s very hard, we didn’t expect to be here but that’s where we are.
“We have five games left, we have to show a positive energy and win games.
“It’s the worst run since I’ve been at the club. We’re the ones playing on the pitch and we have to turn this around. It’s hard for everybody and we have to come through these moments. Off the pitch we have a lot of things to work on.”
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