Frank Lampard accepted the Blues didn’t do enough to win today’s FA Cup final and the boss also bemoaned our misfortune with injuries before and during the game.
From the moment Christian Pulisic impressively put us ahead with just five minutes on the clock, not a great deal went right for Chelsea. A brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned the contest around, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pulisic and Pedro all went off injured, adding to a list of absentees that included Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of kick-off, and Mateo Kovacic was sent off for two bookable offences.
Lampard did not agree with either of those decisions, but he did not make excuses and conceded the better team won the showpiece, which took place in an empty Wembley.
‘We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and created a few chances were in control of the game,’ the boss began. ‘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.’
Lampard pinpointed some areas where his team lacked
‘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.’
Pedro was one of the three players who went off injured and Lampard paid tribute to him
‘It’s a really disappointing end for him, because that is probably going to be his last game for Chelsea. He’s been an incredible servant, and he looked bright when he came on.
‘We didn’t have the luck with the injuries, and things all came together for us today in a way we wouldn’t want. Two hamstring injuries for Azpi and Pulisic, a dislocated shoulder for Pedro and Willian getting injured yesterday before the game.
‘Kante wasn’t really fit for this game, it was only a maybe if we needed him depending on how the game was going and having to make the subs when I did, made it very difficult to risk him. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was out too, as we get to the end of a very long season.
‘I’m not making excuses, because we didn’t perform well enough, but it felt like that was a tipping point with everything coming together at the same time.’