Frank Lampard wants greater intensity in final third from Chelsea
Frank Lampard asked for his players to show greater intensity in the final third of the pitch after watching Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.
The PA news agency understands the Blues are close to appointing Mauricio Pochettino as manager for next season, but performances and results under interim boss Lampard continue to disappoint.
There was a familiar lack of urgency and focus to the team’s attack during the first half at Stamford Bridge, with Steve Cooper’s relegation-threatened side largely untroubled.
It meant Forest were able to bide their time and wait for chances of their own, and one came when Taiwo Awoniyi got between two Chelsea defenders and beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball to head them into a half-time lead.
It was a defensive calamity for Lampard’s side, but the manager said he was more alarmed by his players’ lack of attacking intent when they got near Forest’s goal.
“They can happen,” he said of Awoniyi’s 13th-minute effort. “You’re disappointed with them but they can happen. It’s not something where training affected it, it’s one player’s scored, you don’t spend all week recreating that moment.
“What I’m more disappointed about is we lost 45 minutes of the game where we had all the control and we weren’t doing all the things we said about before the game. It’s not good to play 60, 70 per cent in the last third. The last third has to be 100 per cent.
“It has to be repetitive, and that’s not something that can change overnight. I’ve been asked what we did in training all week, but it’s not training at this point in the season that’s going to change this season or what these games look like, it’s the idea and sticking with the idea and doing it and doing it and doing it.
“In the second half when we showed bits of that in our game, it looked different. It’s a game that you would want to come and watch, we’re in the game and we’re playing like we want the team to play.
“But you have to have speed in the last third of the game, and at the moment we’re too comfortable, getting up there and being slow. It’s not hard enough to defend against.”
Chelsea briefly looked to have turned the game on its head thanks to a second-half brace from Raheem Sterling, the first a deflected strike after being set up by Trevoh Chalobah before he rifled in a fine solo effort.
Awoniyi levelled for Forest minutes later to boost their survival hopes and leave Lampard with a familiar feeling of frustration.
He has just one home game left against Newcastle on the final day to secure the first win of his interim tenure before, as expected, Pochettino takes charge.
“That is a game for me with big possession, we should have more shots, (be) more clinical,” Lampard added. “But at the moment that isn’t the case. I think that’s a process that will (need) time, because that’s not changing right now.
“As much as you want to talk about it, it has to be changed by players affecting out and doing it.
“Today we didn’t do that in the first half. We did it better in the second half and we all saw the result.”