Frank Lampard ‘confused and frustrated’ after VAR ignored Chelsea penalty claim against Harry Maguire

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said he was frustrated and confused that his team were denied a penalty in Saturday’s 0-0 Premier League draw at Manchester United.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was grabbed by his United counterpart Harry Maguire when challenging for a header in the first half but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) dismissed the London club’s penalty claims after reviewing the incident.

“I thought it was a clear penalty. I couldn’t see it at the time from where I was standing and those ones are hard calls for the referee. It’s why we brought VAR into the game, but VAR was very quick to dismiss it,” Lampard told reporters.

“They should have taken time and advised the referee to look at the monitor. If he watches the monitor, he has to give the penalty, so it’s confusing. There’s a frustration because the rules seemed to be moving in the right direction.

“The referees were looking at the monitor a bit more at the start of the season. The person on the pitch should always take first responsibility and that was given back to them with the monitor.”

The result extended United’s wait for a first league win at Old Trafford this season and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his team were missing the energy of fans, who are not allowed to watch matches in stadiums amid the Covid-19 crisis.

But the Norwegian was encouraged by the debut of new signing Edinson Cavani, who joined United earlier this month.

“He showed in glimpses what he can do. He’ll give us a presence in the box. He’s an experienced centre forward and the more we get the ball into him in and around the box we’ll get goals from him,” Solskjaer said.

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Lampard reacts to Man Utd beating PSG ahead of Chelsea's trip to Old Trafford

Frank Lampard admitted Manchester United represent a ‘huge test’ for his Chelsea side this weekend following their ‘really good result’ away to PSG in the Champions League.

Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla in a game of few clear-cut chances last night, with Edouard Mendy’s excellent save to deny Nemanja Gudelj the standout moment in what was a cagey affair at Stamford Bridge.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils, meanwhile, secured three points against last year’s runners-up with an outstanding 2-1 win in Paris after Marcus Rashford arrowed home a sublime 87th-minute strike at the Parc des Princes.

There’s no let-up for the two English giants, who do battle at Old Trafford in the Premier League this coming Saturday – and Lampard is anticipating a tricky encounter in what could be a pivotal match, with Chelsea and United currently languishing down in eighth and 15th respectively.

Asked whether Chelsea can build on the performance against Sevilla ahead of their trip to the Theatre of Dreams, Lampard told BT Sport: ‘They (Manchester United) might be building on their performance tonight as well!

‘They had a really good result.

‘We have to, it’s a long season and we’re in the real early stages of it.

‘As I said before the game, we lost this game last year against Valencia so it’s a much better start for us and it gives us confidence ahead of what’s going to be a difficult group, no matter what way you look at it.

‘But, yeah, league games now ahead of us… Manchester United are a huge test off the back of a very good result for them but we have to go there with belief.’

Lampard allayed fears over Thiago Silva’s fitness after the defender fell awkwardly in the second half and appeared in some discomfort.

‘He has not flagged it, so I think we are okay,’ Lampard added.

‘I thought Thiago showed the things I have spoken about, his experiences and qualities.

‘Mendy had one good save to make and he made it, and was good with his feet.

‘Against a very good team it was a very organised defensive performance. I am very pleased.’

The Chelsea boss hopes his players are buoyed by their display as they prepare to take on United this weekend.

‘To get through the game will give us good confidence,’ Lampard said.

‘We are going to get better. I keep saying the same thing but we have not had the personnel in there playing regularly, getting relationships and working off each other.

‘The more we do that then we will get better naturally.’

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March claims Lampard didn't rate Pulisic when he first joined

‘Lampard’s idea of Pulisic was shaped by the fact he was American’: RB Salzburg boss Jesse March claims the Chelsea manager didn’t rate the winger when he first joined as he is from the United States

  • Jesse Marsch believes Frank Lampard didn’t originally rate Christian Pulisic
  • The RB Salzburg coach spoke to the Chelsea manager about the winger last year
  • He believes Lampard’s opinion was shaped by the fact Pulisic is from America
  • Marsch said Lampard has realised Pulisic is a better player than he first thought 

RB Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch has claimed Frank Lampard didn’t originally rate Christian Pulisic because he is American.

The winger signed for Chelsea in January 2019 but did not arrive at Stamford Bridge until the summer, which coincided with Frank Lampard’s appointment as manager.

Pulisic found himself in and out of the first team at the start of last season while injuries also hampered his progress. However, by the end of the campaign the 22-year-old was in electric form and was arguably the club’s best player after the restart. 

RB Salzburg boss Jesse March (R) says Frank Lampard did not originally rate Christian Pulisic

Marsch believes Lampard questioned the winger’s technical ability because he is American

The 22-year-old was one of Chelsea’s best players after the restart of the 2019-2020 season

He scored four goals and made four assists in the last nine league games of the season. He also gave the Blues the lead in the FA Cup final before he was forced off with an injury.

While Pulisic’s ability has shone through in recent months, Marsh says Lampard was initially unsure the American was tactically ready for the demands of Premier League football. 

‘The perception in Europe, mostly, is that the American player is willing to run, willing to fight, has good mentality, but technically they’re not very gifted and tactically they’re not very aware and their experiences aren’t very big,’ Marsch told Extratime Radio. 

Marsch believes the perception that American players aren’t technically good is changing

‘But we’re seeing that change. We’re seeing more and more of these players develop themselves.

‘Even Frank Lampard, when I spoke to him in preseason a year ago now, I was talking to him about having Christian Pulisic and he was kind of like, “Yeah, he’s got a lot to learn so we’ll see how he does.”

‘I said to him, “Listen, he was at Dortmund, and they had a high level of tactical thinking, of playing, and he was very successful.” 

Pulisic made his Borussia Dortmund league and Champions League debut at the age of 17

‘I could see right away that Frank Lampard’s idea of Christian Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was American and not that his football education came a lot from what has happened in Germany. Since then, I think Lampard has learned that Pulisic is a lot better than he gave him credit for.’

Pulisic made the move to Borussia Dortmund at the age of 16 and started training with Jurgen Klopp’s first team a year later. By the time he was 17, he had made his Bundesliga and Champions League debut and in 2017 he became their youngest ever scorer in the competition at the age of 18 years, 5 months and 18 days.

‘He was considered one of the best young players in Germany and that’s in a group of players with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, these kinds of players,’ Marsch added.

‘He was in a group with those players, and it’s not just because he was talented but it was because he understood the tactics and understood how to fit in the game and he was developing a real astute way of how to play. 

‘Christian had to fight for that, which is the American quality, but he’s a damn good player. Same with Gio Reyna, same with Tyler Adams, same with Weston McKennie.’

Pulisic made his first start since returning from injury in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday and could play a part in the Champions League tie with Sevilla tonight. 

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Why can't Frank Lampard fix Chelsea's leaky defence?

How the mouths of Chelsea fans would have been watering at 3.30pm on Saturday.

Chelsea’s front four had the freedom of Stamford Bridge, interchanging at will and causing Southampton all manner of problems from which they had no right to recover.

Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic looked free, with no set position, while Timo Werner created two fine goals for himself. Any potential talk of a Premier League goal drought was put to bed.

But again, Chelsea’s defence let them down. From 2-0 up they were pegged back 2-2, the first goal from Danny Ings coming from thin air following a Havertz mistake, and the second a joint Kurt Zouma-Kepa Arrizabalaga error. They then squandered a 3-2 lead late on from the second phase of a set piece.

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For all their attacking potential – and that’s even before Hakim Ziyech sees more than 20 minutes – Frank Lampard’s side are continuously shooting themselves in the foot.


Errors have punctuated their season, and questions over defensive solidity have hung over Lampard since he took the job last August.

Chelsea have conceded an average of 1.5 goals per game in the Premier League under Lampard (63 in 43 games), the Blues’ worst rate under any boss to oversee more than one game in the competition.

Chelsea’s defensive discrepancy (Premier League only)

Since Lampard arrived, only Saints, Aston Villa, West Ham and Brighton have conceded more goals of current Premier League teams. But the goals against column does not tally with other metrics.

They have conceded just 379 shots – only Manchester City have faced fewer – and their expected goals against is just 44.7, over 18 goals fewer than they have actually conceded. That is by far the largest difference between expected goals conceded and actual goals conceded in the Premier League.

This points to individual mistakes. Seven of the nine goals Chelsea have conceded this season have been down to individual mistakes in some form: Sadio Mane’s first in Liverpool’s 2-0 win on September 20 and Jannik Vestegaard’s late equaliser on Saturday the only two that have not.

Lampard is fully aware, and wants game management, something that seems to have been abandoned across the Premier League this season.

“They are mistakes that concern you. [The second goal] was a situation that we should have clearly dealt with in a much better and simpler terms. If you are going to concede those kind of goals, then it doesn’t matter how well you play in periods of games, it is something that we can’t have in our game.

“There is certainly a game management element of it in a game. We want to have a lead and see it off.”

Could it also a structural issue? Chelsea have switched to a 4-2-3-1 this season – unavoidable with their attacking options – but it often becomes a front five with Ben Chilwell comfortable and effective up the pitch.

But for all his attacking qualities, Chilwell’s high position stretches Chelsea’s defence on the turnover. Southampton targeted their full-backs with the press from the first minute on Saturday – in the first half it failed miserably, in the second half it worked wonderfully.

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Either way, and as with Saints’ own approach, it’s risk and reward. At present, as can be seen across the Premier League, games are resembling a coin toss; teams are getting it wrong just as much as they are getting it right.

Building shape and solidity takes time, and that may be lacking on the training ground at present.

“I don’t think we are conceding goals due to the shape of the team,” Lampard insisted after Saturday’s game. “Of course we have changed the shape and I have to make those decisions with the personnel we have and getting the best out of them. That is something I have to think about, but it doesn’t mean I am dead set on sticking with that formation and there can be changes and tweaks to it as we go along. It’s something we need to continue working on. It is a change.

“Change needs work on the training ground, we haven’t had much of that so sometimes the work in progress is in games and today there were loads of great things from the 4-2-3-1, particularly in the first half. In the second half I wouldn’t blame the shape of the team, more that we didn’t deal with the fact that Southampton were really keen to put us under pressure in their own half.

“We wanted to miss out their press, we didn’t do enough and that meant we turned the ball over in our own half, which irrespective of shape is always a problem.”

In this, the most bizarre of Premier League season, it feels like the first big team to play it safe, cynical and eradicate mistakes will set the pace at the top.

Last season, Lampard was guilty of playing free-flowing football in games that begged for patience and attrition, surprising given his three-and-a-half successful years under the professor of game management Jose Mourinho.

He has match winners in abundance, so it’s time his Chelsea side cut out the blunders and shut up shop.

What’s next?

Chelsea host Sevilla in their opening Champions League group game on Tuesday at 8pm, before going to Manchester United on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm.

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard excited to see Hakim Ziyech debut

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says he is “excited” at the prospect of seeing summer-signing Hakim Ziyech make his debut against Southampton on Saturday.

Ziyech joined Chelsea from Ajax in a £33.3m deal but suffered a knee injury in a pre-season friendly at Brighton on August 29, which has prevented him from making his competitive debut.

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The 27-year-old played 30 minutes as a substitute for Morocco in a friendly against Senegal last weekend, and is now in line to make a return to club action as Chelsea host Southampton.

“Hakim Ziyech is in the squad – not fit to start but fit to participate some minutes we hope,” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“We brought Hakim here and it feels like a long time ago now but he also has not played since the Dutch league finished during lockdown period.


“It’s a long time and he’s worked so hard. He’s been fantastic in terms of his professionalism to get fit and looks really good in training.

“Just game minutes is what we need now but yes of course I’m excited to get him in and around it and to bring what we brought him to the club for, which is the opportunity to create chances for us, to be the talented player that he is.”

‘Competition for places a nice problem’

Lampard also welcomed the return to full fitness of another Chelsea’s winger, Christian Pulisic, who is available to make his first start of the season having recovered from a hamstring injury.

Pulisic played seven minutes as a substitute in Chelsea’s final game before the international break against Crystal Palace and has further built up his fitness levels since.

The duo’s return creates intense competition for places in Chelsea’s forward roles, with Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi also vying to play behind either Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud up front.

“Any team that wants to compete towards the top of the league, or Champions League, and playing in the FA Cup needs more than one player per position and needs to be competitive across the front area,” Lampard said.

“We had it last year – we lost Willian, we lost Pedro, we lost (Michy) Batshuayi, – so we’ve brought in players that brings the same level of competition in terms of numbers and I feel like the quality levels and some of the options, of course you bring them in because you want to improve.

“It’s up to the players, of course, it will always remain up to them in terms of their performance and at the same time gives me nice problems, in terms of we can hopefully be selecting players and we can use them through the season, we’ll have options to come off the bench, so I’m happy with what some people might call a problem in that area.”

‘Rudiger has same opportunity as every other player’

There is also fierce competition for places at the other end of the pitch, with Chelsea having held on to all of their centre-backs before the transfer window closed.

Despite being fully fit, Antonio Rudiger failed to make an appearance for Chelsea before the international break amid speculation linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

The 27-year-old played all three of Germany’s matches during the break, and Lampard insists he as much chance as any other player in the squad of holding down a first-team place.

“Every player can play their way into the starting 11, the squad, that’s in every players hands,” Lampard said. “That’s how I try and work here.

“So the players all know that and the beauty of the window now being shut is that we can get to work and know what the squad is.

“Everybody knows that they can contribute and we will need them and rely on them because of the amount of games we play and Toni is the same as every other player on that one.”

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Frank Lampard drops Christian Pulisic hint but FOUR Chelsea signings are doubts

Frank Lampard has hinted that Christian Pulisic could be in line to start against Southampton on Saturday, though he has several other injuries and issues elsewhere in his squad to deal with.

The west London club are back in action at Stamford Bridge tomorrow after the international break, though not all of his players came through the two weeks unscathed.

Summer signing Edouard Mendy picked up an injury while away with Senegal – though it is hoped it is only a minor problem – while Ben Chilwell had to pull out of the England squad.

The goalkeeper will definitely not play, though Chilwell could be passed fit, while Thiago Silva has been ruled out of Saturday’s match after playing for Brazil during the week.

In better news, Pulisic has enjoyed two good weeks training at Cobham and appears to be over his injury woes while Hakim Ziyech could be given a cameo off the bench – though the Moroccan is another player who is still not up to full speed yet.

Asked for his team news at his pre-match press conference, Lampard explained: ‘Mendy won’t be fit for the match tomorrow but we hope the injury is not too long.

‘Thiago Silva after his trip is not unfit but he’s not ready to play the game because of the travelling and the game that he played so he won’t be in the squad.

‘Ben Chilwell is in the squad, so he’s got over some of the feeling he had which took him out of the England squad around the injury he has had for a while now.

‘Christian Pulisic is in the squad and fit to play. Hakim Ziyech is in the squad, not fit to start but fit enough to participate some minutes we hope.’

On whether Kepa Arrizabalaga could be restored to the starting XI following Mendy’s injury, Lampard replied bluntly: ‘I’ll make that decision myself out of the goalkeepers for tomorrow.’

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