Frank Lampard questions Chelsea mentality after two defeats in four days | Football

Frank Lampard questioned his players’ mentality after Chelsea missed the chance to go top of the Premier League by slipping to a second successive defeat. Even though they did not play well, Chelsea put themselves on course for victory at Wolves when Olivier Giroud scored early in the second half. Daniel Podence equalised before Pedro Neto hit a winning goal in stoppage time.

“We should have seen the game out,” Lampard said. “If you’re not playing well, which we weren’t, you should hang on, not allow counterattacks.”

He hinted some Chelsea players may have become complacent after enjoying a 14-match unbeaten run before Saturday’s defeat at Everton and advised them to reflect on that before Monday’s home game against West Ham. “Maybe the players can think about that. This is the Premier League. If you don’t perform, you lose games.”

Lampard added that his players must show more savviness to respond to different challenges during matches and also suggested some had not paid heed to advice about Wolves’ counterattacking power.

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“We have been given different kind of games in these last two, Everton made it difficult for us to break them down – we didn’t succeed with that – and Wolves played very much a counterattacking style. The players have to feel that on the pitch because the message was very clear about their counterattack and individuals who could hurt us and that’s disappointing.

“We had enough players to deal with it but we weren’t properly prepared to counter-press. We kept Thiago Silva back, we had numbers to deal with it but we didn’t deal with it well enough.”

Pedro Neto celebrates after racing away to score a late winner for Wolves. Photograph: Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images

Lampard offered some mitigation by suggesting the busy schedule may have detracted from their energy levels. “There could be some fatigue,” he said.

“I hate to say it after a defeat because it feels like an excuse, but even in the first 60 minutes when we were were the better team we didn’t have a zip about us. We’ve travelled up to Everton, come back and then travelled to Wolves but everyone is in the same boat. We have a couple of injuries in areas which means I can make too many changes, so I understand that side of it.

“We had a long unbeaten run and everyone sang our praises. I was the last one to do that, it’s my job to stay level headed on both ends. So I shouldn’t get too disappointed tonight as much as I didn’t get too elated after Leeds on the back of a really good run. But clearly when we perform like we did today that’s not game management, that’s not the quality levels that we are striving for.

“I still think there’s a lot of improvement to be done with the group, so I wouldn’t say I’m massively surprised because my experience with the Premier League tells me that if you drop your standards, which we have in two games, and particularly away from home, you can lose matches, so a big lesson for the players.”

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