'We just didn't perform' - Lampard laments 'complacent' Chelsea's FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal
Frank Lampard admitted that his Chelsea charges were not up to the task at Wembley as they threw away a winning position to lose to Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
The Blues went into Saturday's clash as slight favourites after finishing inside the top four at the end of the Premier League season, and enjoyed a perfect start to proceedings when Christian Pulisic fired his side ahead.
Their joy proved short-lived, however, as Arsenal turned the tables through two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to see off the challenge of Chelsea.
- 'Salah never has a day off!' - Adrian pays tribute to Liverpool's record-breaking machine
- Could Man City create their own Class of '92? Palmer, McAtee, Lavia and Co. out to impress Guardiola
- 'I hope Mane plays' - Liverpool loanee Van den Berg relishing chance to face parent club with Preston
- Ryotaro Araki: Japanese wonderkid closing in on J-League history
To compound Lampard's frustration, Mateo Kovacic saw red for a second bookable offence while he lost Christian Pulisic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro to injury, causing an acute selection headache ahead of Chelsea's imminent Champions League return.
And the manager pulled no punches after the final whistle as he looked back on a poor display.
"We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and created a few chances were in control of the game," said Lampard. "But after that, we can only blame ourselves from that point in football terms.
"We got complacent. We took too long on the ball, we started playing short passes like it was a stroll. An FA Cup final can never be a stroll. We allowed Arsenal back in the game and from that point onwards, it’s always going to be difficult. A lot of today was on us.
"In the second half we came out brighter, if Christian goes through and scores as opposed to missing and doing his hamstring - well, the circumstances in the game conspired against us.
"It’s been a busy period for us. The players have given everything. With 10 men the last 20 minutes was a really difficult challenge for them. We shouldn’t become too stuck on today. Of course we are disappointed tonight, but over the season as a whole what we have managed to do, come where we did in the league, is a huge plus for us.
"Today would have been the icing on the cake but it wasn’t to be.
"There are elements of our game that we’ve worked hard on all year but there are other bits that are within you that you have to show. A couple of weeks ago here in the semi-final against Manchester United, we were fantastic. We controlled the game, we moved the ball, hit the sides and had a threat behind us.
"Then today, we were slow, played back on ourselves and invited pressure and we didn’t know where to go from that. We just didn’t perform well enough to win a final."
Chelsea will be back in action in the Champions League on August 8, when they travel to the Allianz Arena in their attempt to turn around a seemingly insurmountable three-goal deficit from the last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich.