Lampard calls for defensive improvements amid rumours of a clear-out
The Chelsea boss admitted that his team have conceded too many goals this season and reports suggest he is looking to rebuild his defence.
Frank Lampard cut a frustrated figure after his side’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal and the Chelsea manager bemoaned the number of defensive errors that his team have made this season. The Blues dropped 18 points from winning positions during Lampard’s first season in charge and did so again at Wembley.
Lampard was a key part of the Chelsea team who conceded just 15 goals in the 2003/04 season under José Mourinho on the way to setting a new record Premier League point total. Speaking after the FA Cup final he made clear that he felt that his team’s defensive fragility would cost them the chance of silverware again if not resolved:
“Some of the individual errors we are making, clear individual errors, some in the final, which clearly cost us goals cannot be there if you want to keep moving forward.
“There are areas to improve defensively and of course we have to improve.”
New-look defence on the Stamford Bridge agenda
Lampard steered Chelsea into the top four in his first season back at the club despite a transfer ban that prevented him signing players in his first season in charge. With the ban now lifted Chelsea have been the most active Premier League team in the transfer market and have already secured the signatures of forwards Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.
However defensive reinforcements will also be needed and report in The Times suggests that up to ten players could be leaving the club this summer. Lampard is believed to want a defensive clear-out with Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso all available for transfer having failed to impress this year. In addition goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who arrived for a world-record £71million in 2018, has fallen out of favour and looks likely to be moved on, even if just on loan initially.
That would help free up some cash and allow Chelsea to spend big on a central defender and goalkeeper to help close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City. Lampard pointed out that both of those sides, who have dominated the Premier League in recent seasons, had to invest heavily in those key positions:
Lampard: "We are trying to play a certain way"
“We are trying to play a certain way. I know that teams who are now at the top of the game, Liverpool and Manchester City, have been through similar periods - I am not saying we will get to their level - in the early stages when their manager was at the club of conceding too much.”
Lampard opted to start 38-year-old Willy Caballero in goal against the Gunners but he will not be a long-term solution for the Blues. Reports suggest that Burnley’s Nick Pope is being considered as a replacement but with three years remaining on his existing contract the 28-year-old would cost close to £50million. Pope would likely be eager to make the switch and play Champions League football, which will strengthen his case to be England’s starting goalkeeper at next summer’s European Championships.