Lampard: The only thing missing from our game was a goal.
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 0 Real Madrid 2 (0-4 on aggregate)
They say it’s the hope that kills you. For Chelsea it’s the hopelessness in front of goal that has killed their league season and seen them dumped out of the Champions League.
The hope the fans had that the west Londoners might actually score a second goal in interim manager Frank Lampard’s four-game reign failed to bear fruit They did score one in the weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Brentford.
The expression clutching at straws saw Chelsea for the first 45 minutes grasping them tightly, hoping none would slip through.
But a miss by N’Golo Kante and Marc Cucurella in the opening 20 minutes saw a few straws wither a bit.
In the end there was nothing to cling onto and Madrid knocked the ball round the Chelsea defence and tapped it into the back of the net.
Lampard said: “I thought for 60 minutes of the game you probably saw why I picked the lineup. We had big energy, big organisation in the team and caused Real Madrid a lot of problems.
“The only thing that was missing from our game was a goal. We had really good chances to do that. The first half was a strong moment for us. This team can always give you problems in transition of course because they’re a fantastic transition team amongst other things. Our game was exactly how I wanted it and one goal or two goals in that 60 minutes changes the face of it. We didn't do that and at this level, they're so clinical.”
Lampard then tried to put a brave face on the situation and remain positive while putting a end to this season: “They showed they can compete with Real Madrid, for sure, except from the final-third stuff. So I think it’s important to take each step.
“Each step for me and the players now is a day off tomorrow and back to work on Thursday and get working towards Brentford.
“People will make a lot about this season for Chelsea because we’ve had so much success and the reality is this club is going to be back. It will take work and a bit of a process. I think the fans appreciated this performance today. Maybe there have been times this season where they haven’t been feeling like that. So we have to latch on to that and pick up good results for the rest of the season and good performances for the rest of the season and then go again next year.
And what about the future?
He said: “I think the way that the Premier League is moving so fast, the landscape changes. To say that any given team has this divine right to be in the top-four and in the Champions League, it’s tough. Manchester United have spent time out of the Champions League, Arsenal have spent time out of the Champions League. Lots of big clubs have. “In this moment, to try and predict what is going to happen going forward – will it be good or bad – is pretty pointless. But I do think we can set the building blocks now to where we want to get to. “I’m here for a reason, obviously, because this season being what it is and this role that I’m in. Can I affect it in this period? Hopefully, yeah, but the bigger thing for the club will be that we want to get back to where we were. “But the challenge is big. Every club is investing. Maybe some clubs are more stable than we are at the minute in terms of the squad. So I don’t think we can get ahead of ourselves in terms of moments like tonight where there’s disappointment. I know what it takes to get back from being here as a player for a long time and as a coach before in the Champions League. We have to set those standards high again and I keep saying the same stuff but only the work of the group and having a clear direction from the group is the way. Let’s see it. In my next seven games, I will do my mini version of that. If the performance can rise, I think it will give the fans a good feeling and give us a good feeling in the summer and I think that’s as far as we can look.”