Man Utd 4-0 Chelsea: Damning scoreline but some positives for Lampard's Blues

By Simon StoneBBC Sport at Old Trafford
Chelsea made too many mistakes - Lampard

Not for the first time in recent weeks #LampardOut was trending on Twitter on Sunday night.

Even after Chelsea's 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, it feels as ridiculous as it did when it first appeared following a 1-1 draw at Irish League side Bohemians in Lampard's first match as manager in July.

There are some damning statistics from Lampard's trip to Old Trafford, where Chelsea suffered their biggest defeat by United since 1965.

It was the worst Premier League managerial debut since Gustavo Poyet's Sunderland were beaten 4-0 at Swansea in October 2013.

It was the biggest defeat a Chelsea manager had endured in his first game since Danny Blanchflower's team was beaten 7-2 by Middlesbrough in December 1978.

It was the heaviest Premier League loss Lampard has been part of since West Ham lost 7-1 at United in April 2000.

So many negatives. And yet...

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his team were "lucky" to be leading at half-time.

This is important. It gives Lampard's own analysis some credence.

"There were lots of elements about today that I liked," he said. "We were intense in our pressure. We won the ball back high in lots of areas. We dominated the midfield. For big spells in the first half they couldn't get out. But football is won and lost in the boxes. They won it by being clinical."

On top everywhere - except where it matters

Frank Lampard (centre) at Old Trafford
Lampard led Derby to the Championship play-off final last season

The statistics from Old Trafford tell an interesting story.

Chelsea had more possession. They had more corners. They had more shots. And they had more shots on target.

They did this with a starting line-up containing three home-grown players - Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Andreas Christensen. Another - Fikayo Tomori - was on the bench.

Lampard was surprised in his post-match press conference to be told former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had criticised Mount at full-time.

"He didn't like the performance of Mason Mount? He said Mason Mount?" said Lampard, who had two spells as a player under Mourinho. "I am not concerned about what anyone else says."

Mount did well. As did Abraham. Christensen less so. The problem is when Mount had a clear chance to shoot, he went for the pass. When Abraham shot after four minutes, he hit the post. Such are the fine margins at the very highest level between success and failure.

Tammy Abraham
Abraham scored 25 goals on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship last season

That does not mean Lampard will banish them, nor that they are not good enough. Merely that reliance on youth is a strategy lacked with risk. It was one owner Roman Abramovich had no choice but to endorse given the position Chelsea found themselves in this summer.

And, as Lampard said afterwards, one he probably would not have chosen had it not been for that two-window transfer ban they are hoping will be reduced so the club can be active in the market in January.

"I believe we have really talented young players but, let's be clear, with the injuries we have and the fact we couldn't bring in players, this is a work in progress - to a degree. We will have to learn harsh lessons and correct them pretty quickly," he said.

It doesn't get any easier for Chelsea.

They play Champions League winners Liverpool in Istanbul in the Uefa European Super Cup on Wednesday before a Stamford Bridge encounter with dark horses Leicester next Sunday.

Before September is out, a Premier League encounter with Liverpool and a trip to Wolves have to be navigated.

Lampard did not say so but there is a chance life will get worse before it gets better for a club who counted last season as a tough one, when they finished third and won the Europa League. He will be thankful the club's travelling supporters - a better barometer than social media - were still singing his name, even after Daniel James had scored United's fourth.

"What the fans want to see and why they were very receptive to the players at the end was a team trying to do the right things," Lampard said.

"When it went against us, it went against us very quickly. That is the lesson for my young team. It hurts but we shouldn't let it consume us or affect us going forward. I have lost by a few goals here a couple of times. We will bounce back."

Top Stories

Also in Sport