Frank Lampard admitted his team are far from the finished article after Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat at West Ham meant they missed out on the chance to leapfrog Leicester into third place in the Premier League.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s late goal secured a priceless victory for West Ham after Willian had scored twice for Chelsea, ensuring David Moyes’s side moved three points clear of the relegation zone.
But having defeated Manchester City to crown Liverpool as champions and also beaten Leicester to reach the FA Cup semi-finals, Lampard admitted this setback was an indication of how far his team must progress if they are to challenge for the title next season.
“It’s a sign of where we are – we have a lot of hard work to do to get to where we want to be,” he said. “The reason the rest of us are chasing Liverpool and Man City is because of the consistency they have developed so that is what we have to work towards. It’s obviously frustrating but if we are in that position it’s how you bounce back and move forward.”
Poor defending from Chelsea allowed West Ham to go ahead thanks to goals from Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio before Willian’s equaliser from a free-kick. Yarmolenko’s goal in the 89th minute means Chelsea still trail Leicester by a point after their defeat to Everton, with Manchester United and Wolves two points behind Lampard’s side.
He refused to blame his players for their first defeat since the restart and said they must look ahead to Saturday night’s game against Watford at Stamford Bridge.
“I’ve not been let down by my defenders – we’ve made mistakes in the buildup to the goals, not just defenders, which cost us the game,” Lampard said. “I wouldn’t call it a wake-up call because every game is different. This wasn’t a huge surprise – if you know the Premier League and you make mistakes, it can happen. We have to accept it and move on.”
West Ham’s victory was their first since the restart and Moyes said it was fully deserved after Soucek’s goal had been controversially ruled out for VAR in the first half.
“One win is not enough – we have to win more if we’re still going to be a Premier League club,” he said. “But after the performance that we saw Chelsea put in against Manchester City, it was an outstanding result for us.”