Frank Lampard says setbacks for his young Chelsea side are “not the worst thing” as they were never going to be “Invincibles” and need to take as many lessons from bad times as good.
The Blues have enjoyed a relatively productive 2019-20 campaign to this point, with the faith shown in youth during a two-window transfer embargo being richly rewarded.
They have, however, gone three games without a win in all competitions and suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats against Manchester City and West Ham.
A 1-0 derby reversal against the Hammers on Saturday has put more questions to Lampard as he seeks to find answers in his debut campaign as a Premier League manager.
The Chelsea legend has no issue with that, telling reporters: “Generally, collectively yes we can handle that game better. I think that's part of the process.
“I don't think this will be the worst thing for us because I keep hearing positive great stories about us over the last six weeks or eight weeks. I always try to close my ears and don't like them because of what this league is and the fight there is over the course of the season.
“There will be moments like this. We were never going to come through the season as Invincibles. It wasn't going to be the way.
“They are little tests for us and we have to pass them, so looking back on the game could they have done something more? Yes, collectively we can do more going forward and manage the game better.”
Lampard added on coming unstuck against a West Ham side that has been struggling for consistency: “Shocked isn’t the word. The Premier League is what it is. Nothing is easy or given to you. Disappointed rather than shocked.”
Chelsea were without top scorer Tammy Abraham for a meeting with the Hammers, after seeing him pick up a knock in a Champions League meeting with Valencia, but his absence is considered to be no excuse for a dip in collective standards.
Lampard said: “It can’t be one player. Tammy was enforced and had been going well. But at the same time I had to think about the squad and we had a taxing game where we had to give everything physically.
“We arrived back late [from Spain] and I had to think about how we think about it going forward. It also gives me a look about how we are generally, because we aren’t going to get through the season with just ten or 11 players. I think the team out there had enough quality to win this game.”
Pressed on whether he has enough depth in his squad, Lampard added: “That will pan out itself over the course of the season, because the transfer ban has been talked about, it is enforced upon us but I still believe in this squad.
“If you look at this today we made some changes but we didn’t perform the way that we wanted to.
“There will be questions asked of us from the outside, there will be questions I will want asked for myself on the inside.
“I do believe in the squad and I think we have shown some great stuff this season. There haven’t been many times I have said we were below par, hardly at all. Today was one of those days. But I don’t think it is time for harsh reactions and judgements across individuals across the team as I see it. It is time for a look at a bit of character to see our reaction against Aston Villa [on Wednesday].”