Chelsea’s new recruits have not been given the chance to find the connections needed to build a winning team, according to Frank Lampard.
The Blues looked disjointed and without a plan as they lost meekly 3-1 to Arsenal on Tuesday, their sixth straight loss on a run that saw them slip to 12th in the Premier League table.
A number of players signed in January failed to make a significant impact, with Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke in particular being big money buys who only showed flashes of their talent.
At least Madueke got his first goal for the club in the loss at the Emirates, something that Mudryk, who cost £88million despite making just 44 first-team appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk, has not achieved.
There was little consistency in the starting XI, which was evident under former boss Graham Potter and continued in Lampard’s terrible interim periods.
It made an unbalanced squad, loaded with creative talent but without anyone to score goals, look even more disjointed on the pitch, with little apparent chemistry. They have scored just twice in their last eight games.
Chelsea will drop below Bournemouth if they lose to Gary O’Neil’s side at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, despite their opponents having spent most of the season battling relegation and were in the bottom three at the start of April.
“The numbers show you that we are the team that changes their XI the most,” Lampard said. “Coming in at this point for me, it’s trying to find the connections and partnerships in the team that are vital as we all know.
“The great teams we’ve seen over the years, you can always name connections. Fullback; Liverpool off the top of my head, the full backs are absolutely central to what they do.
“When you’re trying to get that, it’s difficult, and I think it’s important to know that when we have a bad run and those things aren’t fixed, it’s very difficult to have consistency get what you need.
“You end up searching for it, which is probably why people call it translation. That’s a challenge. I think as much as we want results, because the results will be put in your face, we also need to try to find those small connections within the team in the future.
“Maybe some of the younger players who came into the club haven’t had a chance to settle in, to feel comfortable within the team, to understand that the defenders are going to pass them, or that the midfielders will support them .
“That’s a process, and that takes work. It is probably work that I could not do in this role as an interim. It feels less in practice under training to that level.”
Lampard defended Raheem Sterling despite the England forward’s form completely abandoning him during Chelsea’s slide.
Sterling, who was the first signing of the club’s whirlwind recruitment drive this season, has not replicated the performances that saw him score 131 goals in seven seasons at Manchester City, en route to winning four Premier League titles and being a mainstay of Gareth Southgate’s national side. team.
He has scored just four league goals since arriving at Stamford Bridge in July.
“I’ve spent the last three years talking to all my young wings that I’m working with, showing them videos of Raheem Sterling getting to the back post, doing the job he does defensively,” Lampard said. .
“You can’t take that away from him, what he’s done, for Manchester City and England.
“When you move the club, even though everyone on the outside goes ‘oh, what hard work, moving from Man City to Chelsea, it’s a terrible situation’, it creates changes in your life.
“Obviously the team’s form may not be great this season, so there can always be many factors that contribute to individual form.
“He has credit in the bank. Keep working, things around him falling more into place, I think with Raheem he will show what he has shown in his career.
“We have understood many reasons and stories within the squad, the newer young players, some players who will be moving on. There are many of those reasons.”