standard: Frank Lampard has hit back at criticism of his tactics at Chelsea after defensive frailties hampered the club’s top-four bid.
Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United looked set to see the Blues top out of Champions League qualification contention, only for Leicester City to go down 4-1 at Bournemouth and Manchester United to conceded a 96th-minute equaliser to Southampton.
Chelsea host Norwich at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday with Lampard challenging his players to hit straight back to form.
While Lampard believes he can solve Chelsea’s defensive conundrum, he feels the era of stand-out partnerships like the Blues’ John Terry-Ricardo Carvalho pairing are a thing of the past.
“In terms of defensively, there is a way that I want us to play and it’s not gung-ho, it’s not crazy” said Lampard.
“A lot of the goals are the balls that come into our box that maybe we don’t defend right at that moment and that’s something that has to improve and I feel I know the answers to it.
“Some of it is work and that’s something we will see and it’s part of the process we are in. I don’t like it, I hate conceding goals but we have to work harder on it.
“I don’t think any team in modern football are going to say ‘We’ve got that one defensive partnership’. You go back and talk about a John Terry-Ricardo Carvalho partnership, but in the modern day, I don’t think you will find too many clubs to name the two.
“It’s a difficult season and a demanding season, so I’m not saying I just want to pick two centre-backs because you need competition of probably four centre-backs within a squad and then you need them knocking on the door.
“You want to be able to say to players ‘You are not doing enough’ or the two that are playing keep deserving to play.
“I don’t think it’s about just a partnership. Can we be more settled if we improve? Yes, for sure. Will it be just two players who are going to be your centre backs? I don’t think that’s going to be the case.”
Source: Published by standard