Frank Lampard admitted his Chelsea stars deserved their historic FA Cup Final defeat by Arsenal.
A Chelsea win in the first ever behind closed doors Final would have ended a remarkable first season in charge for Lampard following his side’s top our finish against the odds.
But, just like in 2017 against Arsenal, they failed as favourites and Chelsea boss Lampard was left to rue a below par performance.
Asked to pinpoint the reasons he said: ‘We did not play well enough.
‘We had a great start and had control of the game but at that point we started to get sloppy and not take that control and continue to move the ball quickly. We did not ram home our control, got slower not moving it so well and winning it back so quickly.
‘That changed the tone of the game and it was very hard to get it back after that.
‘But we did start the second half brighter. And if Christian goes through and scores instead of pulling his hamstring then… There were certainly circumstances in the game that conspired against us.
‘In terms of football we didn’t play well enough.’
Reflecting on Arsenal’s penalty equaliser to Christian Pulisic’s opener and Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic’s double yellow card sending off, he added: ‘I thought it was a penalty and not a sending off. I think that was pretty clear.’
Lampard also admitted defeat was also down to his side’s inability to cope with Arsenal’s brilliant goalscoring captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
‘He scored two goals. One was the penalty which he earned, but it was frustrating because we had talked before the game how Arsenal play long balls behind you into those channels and yet we showed them in so easily.
‘He is a top class player and the second goal showed the speed and class of a player who wins games like this.’
Lampard also laid blame at the long season Chelsea have endured, with a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich still to come.
He added: ‘I refuse to criticise my players or their desire to win, but we lost Willian and Rueben Loftus-Cheek with hamstring injuries in the 24 hours before the match and then Pedro looks like he has a dislocated shoulder.
‘It has been a busy period for us and the players have given everything. The last 20 minutes was a really difficult challenge.
‘But we need to look at the season as a whole. Coming fourth in the league was a huge plus for us and today would have been the icing on the cake but it wasn’t to be.’
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