Belfast Telegraph

Rodgers: Leicester should have reigned on Frank Lampard’s party

 

Proud boss: Brendan Rodgers greets Frank Lampard
Proud boss: Brendan Rodgers greets Frank Lampard

By Jonathan Veal

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers felt his side should have totally ruined Frank Lampard's Chelsea homecoming as the Foxes grabbed a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

"We should have won it. It was a tough start for us, Frank got a great reaction which fed into the players and we struggled to get into it," the former Liverpool and Celtic boss said.

The Co Antrim man and former Chelsea coach added: "We had to hang in there in the opening minutes but after that we gained composure.

"Second half I thought we were very, very good defensively. We didn't give away much and then we created a number of good chances to win the game.

"A point was the least we deserved. I am proud of the boys. We should have won the game.

"The top six is always going to be difficult, but we have got to be aggressive and dominate, whatever arena you are playing in, home or away, and you saw that from my team here.

"I know how tough it is to come here."

Lampard admitted managing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was the "stuff of dreams" but was disappointed his homecoming was not marked with a win.

Lampard, who played close to 650 games for the Blues, was taking charge at  home for the first time since his summer appointment but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

After a 4-0 loss at Manchester United last week and a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the Uefa Super Cup in midweek, Lampard is still to taste victory and, as good as their first-half display was against the Foxes, their second-half struggle highlights the size of the task he faces.

It had seemed like a win was written in the stars as, after chants of ‘Super Frank Lampard’ ringing around the stadium and banners held aloft, Mason Mount gave Chelsea a deserved early lead.

But Leicester, orchestrated by the impressive James Maddison, showed why they are tipped to make a challenge for the top six this season as Wilfred Ndidi made up for an error in the build-up to Chelsea’s goal with the equaliser after the break.

Lampard said: “It felt great, it is a special moment for me to come back to the club and manage them at Stamford Bridge, of course it is the stuff of dreams.

“For me it is a huge thing, but my focus today was on the match and trying to win.

“Thanks very much to the fans, I appreciate that, but I am here to do a job and here to try and win for the club and we can do better than we did today.

“We can do better than we did for 60 minutes today and we will do for sure.”

Lampard is the first Chelsea manager since Rafael Benitez seven years ago not to win any of his first three games in charge, but he is expecting patience.

“It’s a results business,” he added. “It’s strange because the performance against Manchester United overall made me happier than today even though it was a 4-0 result. We need both.

“There were frustrations. If there were frustrations in the crowd, there were frustrations in the team and on the bench.”

“We’re working in one way here and we want to do well. We know that in the circumstances that there are some tough elements this year.

“We couldn’t bring players in, I couldn’t as a new manager bring any players to help push the way I’m thinking, we lost Eden (Hazard) and he was so pivotal to this club.

“I think everyone’s understanding of that and we will be patient, but again I don’t want to use that as the huge factor.”

Leicester were outplayed in the first half, but did enough to win the game after the break as Maddison came into the fore.

He created Ndidi’s equaliser, missed a golden chance to win it himself and also created a fine opportunity for Jamie Vardy.

By that point, Leicester were enjoying themselves, to the extent that Rodgers could afford a grin a few moments later when Maddison somehow cleared the crossbar with a brilliant chance in the Chelsea box.

Beside Rodgers on the touchline, Lampard let out another of his exasperated huffs.

A man who has spent most of his life playing football, he is quickly finding out that the game is a whole lot more stressful when you can only watch.

“The first 25 minutes or so, that’s how we want to play,” said Lampard.

“The rest of the game wasn’t quite how we want to play. Credit to Leicester, they put us under pressure, but in the second half we left far too many spaces from them.

“I don’t expect 100mph for 90 minutes, but I do expect us to find another way.”

Chelsea showed glimpses of what it is they are trying to achieve, but it was a stark reminder that it will take time.

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