Frank Lampard has this evening moved to defend his choice of XI that took to the pitch to face Manchester United earlier today, after Jose Mourinho suggested that Chelsea ‘had the possibility to play with a team with more know-how’.
United run riot
The Blues travelled to Old Trafford this evening, for a high-profile Premier League opening weekend meeting with Manchester United.
The matchup came as Frank Lampard’s first competitive outing in charge of his former club.
Adding further importance to the clash, meanwhile, was the fact that all of Chelsea’s other top-6 rivals had already secured 3-point hauls this weekend.
In the end, however, the Londoners failed to get the job done in Manchester, to put it lightly.
Despite having impressed with their flowing football in patches throughout proceedings, Chelsea struggled to cope with United’s frequent breakaways from deep, eventually resulting in Marcus Rashford (2), Anthony Martial and debutant Daniel James all finding the net en route to a 4-0 victory for the hosts.
2000 – Chelsea will end a day in the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since September 30th 2000. Unfamiliar. #MUNCHE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 11, 2019
Mourinho questions Lampard
On the back of his side’s drubbing at Old Trafford, the decision-making of Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was inevitably called into question.
The Pensioners’ legend was without any of Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Willian was viewed as touch-and-go to feature in the buildup to the clash.
Lampard therefore opted for the likes of Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, while leaving the returning N’Golo Kante on the bench from the off.
And one individual who was not at all shy in insinuating that the Blues’ boss got it wrong with his XI versus United is Jose Mourinho.
Speaking on Sky Sports following the full-time whistle, Mourinho, who of course managed both Chelsea and the Red Devils, explained:
‘One thing I was always very critical with is when I am the manager and you are the pundits sometimes you say things that I think to myself ‘you don’t know what is going on, what are you saying.’
‘But if Willian is injured, I understand that feeling he’s not here, but if he’s not injured and is just late on his preparation, I don’t understand why he’s not here because to play 20 minutes, 30 minutes, you don’t need to be fit, you can come from three weeks of injury and if you come with the right mentality you are ready.’
‘If Kante can play 30 to 35 minutes, he can start the game.’
‘Maybe Frank listens to us and says ‘Kante it’s impossible to play’, but my feeling is today they had possibility to play with a team with more know-how. [Marcos] Alonso, [N’Golo] Kante, [Olivier] Giroud on the bench and to come to Old Trafford, even if this is not a huge Manchester United that used to scare people, it’s still Manchester United.’
‘Can’t drag players out of the medical room’
Lampard, though, was not willing to accept the criticism of his former manager lying down.
When questioned on Mourinho’s take on his side’s line-up at Old Trafford during his post-match press conference, with a specific emphasis on Mason Mount, Lampard hit back:
‘He didn’t like the performance of Mason Mount? Is that what he said?’
‘I can’t drag players out of the medical room. These are the players that played. We were better team in 45 to 60 minutes. They were ruthless. I’m not concerned about what anyone else says. I believe in the squad that we have. If we were more clinical then it could have been a different game.’
Quotes via Football.London