Frank Lampard: Chelsea having a difficult time after one win in five

Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa means they are now six points off leaders Liverpool having played a game more; Lampard says it is "no coincidence" that slump has happened during Hakim Ziyech's absence

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Frank Lampard is pleased to have got through a ‘difficult patch’ but feels his side deserved to beat Aston Villa

Frank Lampard admits Chelsea are going through a difficult time as they ended 2020 with just one win from five Premier League games.

Having gone into the winter period in fine form, Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa means they are now six points off leaders Liverpool having played a game more.

Lampard made six changes from the side that lost 3-1 at Arsenal on Boxing Day, a game which prompted the Chelsea boss to criticise his players, but they could only take a point as Anwar El Ghazi cancelled out Olivier Giroud's opener.

Lampard, however, said he was happy with what he saw from his side.

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During the build-up to Anwar El Ghazi's goal for Aston Villa there was a collision between Jack Grealish and Andreas Christensen, but did Grealish leave his leg out on purpose?

"It's a draw against a good team, the performance was good, we deserved to win the game but we don't," he said. "We've come through a difficult patch, that we want to improve. We saw a lot of signs of good attitude in the team, without quite having it in the final third.

"It leaves us having to do more of the same, because the season is tight. We've had a little difficult time, and today I saw some really good signs that I liked.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw with Aston Villa in the Premier League

"I had some ideas to make changes anyway, because we have a squad of players ready to play. The changes were to try and keep a bit of balance in the team, and to try to freshen up. I was pleased, I'm not disappointed with anything tonight other than the fact we conceded that goal, and didn't score another.

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"I was pleased with the players that came in and pleased with the attitude."

He also told Amazon: "It's a tough little moment, and we have to fight through it, but I can't ask for more from what the players gave, the way they worked here."

Chelsea players celebrate with Olivier Giroud after he opened the scoring against Aston Villa
Image: Chelsea players celebrate with Olivier Giroud after he opened the scoring against Aston Villa

Villa's leveller prompted complaints from Chelsea; the players initially called for a foul on Andreas Christensen from Jack Grealish in the build-up, but after the game Lampard said there was a handball from Matt Targett near the dugout before the goal.

"I think there was a handball, and the fourth official was very close to us. I'm not sure (why) it wasn't given, it should have been handball.

"I haven't seen the Christensen-Grealish incident. I didn't think there was much in it at the time, I'm not sure it was a foul or not. I haven't reviewed that referee-wise."

Lampard is not surprised that Chelsea's drop in form has aligned with Hakim Ziyech's absence through injury, having picked up a hamstring problem against Leeds in early December.

Chelsea players surround Stuart Attwell after Villa's controversial leveller
Image: Chelsea players surround Stuart Attwell after Villa's leveller

"I don't think it's a coincidence," he said. "You can't rely completely on it. But with Hakim, the way he was playing, he was very effective in terms of assists, chance creation, and we were very fluid at the time when he got injured against Leeds.

"Where is he at? There's a possibility he could be fit for Man City it if goes ahead."

Chelsea's next match is scheduled to be against Manchester City on January 3, however, their game with Everton on Monday night was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at City.

What's next?

Chelsea host Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, January 3 at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before then hosting Morecambe on Sunday, January 10 in the FA Cup third round at 1.30pm.

Villa now go to Manchester United on New Year's Day at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before hosting Liverpool in the FA Cup third round on January 8 at 7.45pm.

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