Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has urged his players to prove they have the courage to cope with adversity after Bournemouth snatched a shock 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Lampard’s side were beaten for the fourth time in their last five Premier League games as Dan Gosling netted a VAR-reviewed winner with just six minutes left.
It was a bitter blow for Lampard after Chelsea once again failed to deal with a team, intent on defending deep and attacking on the counter.
Not for the first time this season, the Blues dominated possession on home turf without showing the cutting edge needed to break down stubborn Bournemouth, who had arrived in freezing west London on a run of five consecutive defeats.
Lampard believes the root cause of Chelsea’s malaise is their inability to kill teams off, and he puts that down to a lack of conviction in the final third.
Questioning the personality of a young team on the rocks for the first time following their fine start in his first season in charge, Lampard said: “Now we have the reality. If we are not at our best, if players can’t find the quality to beat teams that are organised then we have to find another way.
“We didn’t get the fans excited enough. If we play 10 balls across our back four that’s not surprising; if I’m a fan sitting there today I would say ‘too slow’. I don’t want to blame them for that.’
“Some responsibility is on the players to take the ball and have the balls to excite the fans.
“We have to have some personality. When a team wants to defend against you, that’s another test. We haven’t done well with that.”
Chelsea have scored only 11 goals at home this season and Lampard acknowledged his players are struggling to deal with the pressure that mounts the longer a game goes without a goal for his team.
“With that comes nerves and stress in the team and the stadium. We need urgency in our play, transfer the ball quickly, gets at people, do things that are positive, don’t play safe, we generally play too safe during games,” he said.
“I don’t know about fear but in front of our home fans it’s evident we aren’t playing well enough. We aren’t taking our chances and we have given away some silly goals.”
Chelsea remain in fourth place despite their recent slump but they will have to improve dramatically to stay there.