Frank Lampard has issued a warning to his Chelsea players, saying he will be making changes for Monday’s hosting of Aston Villa after what he deemed the Blues’ worst performance of the season at Arsenal on Boxing Day.
Chelsea were 3-1 losers in that fixture, marking their third straight away defeat in the Premier League, and Lampard said after the match that his players had to take responsibility for a poor performance and result.
The Blues already have an opportunity to respond to the Arsenal defeat as they welcome Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge on Monday evening.
The tight turnaround means Lampard was likely to shuffle his pack anyway, but he hinted that others could miss out as a result of the Arsenal game.
Timo Werner struggled once more and was hauled off at half-time, while Christian Pulisic had little to no impact, with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud pushing for recalls against high-flying Villa.
“There will be some changes and I knew that anyway,” Lampard said.
“I’m certainly not going to bang the drum about the turnaround after our performance [at Arsenal]. It’s not the important point.
“But to play two games in two days, we have to make changes anyway. Some of them will happen now because of how the game went and people will have to come in and inject the energy and the personality of our normal performances.
“The reason we went so many games unbeaten was because of that, so we’ve come off that and we must come back on it quickly. Some of it is maybe where we are at as a squad.”
Lampard again insisted that the early-season form – which saw pundits back Chelsea for the title – was perhaps misleading as he continues to search for the right formula following a summer of heavy investment.
“People wanted to talk us up as title contenders – I never accepted that was the case because we are not there,” he added.
“That takes time to build and days like Boxing Day are certainly ones that we have to learn a big lesson from – everybody, myself included, because when I see that in the first half I don’t like it, so it can’t happen.
“I learn about the players and the players have to learn about themselves. Some of them are young and some of them are new to the Premier League and these tough times are things that we will have to go through.
“I don’t think this season was ever going to be a plain sailing, winning every week. We got confident and we got into a position where we were not losing games and winning a lot of games.”