'I don't mind fans booing the players' - Frank Lampard gives fiery response to claims he was going easy on Chelsea squad
- Chelsea taste fifth straight defeat against Brentford
- Lampard denies claims he is going easy on squad
- Arsenal next up on the agenda
WHAT HAPPENED? Lampard tasted his fifth successive defeat as interim manager at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with Brentford securing a 2-0 victory at the home of their west London rivals. Speaking after that loss, the Chelsea boss initially insisted that he "felt" for his players, but later took exception when a reporter asked how supporters would feel about him exonerating his underperforming squad.
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WHAT THEY SAID: A passionate Lampard responded to that particularly claim by saying: "Have you not watched Brentford in the last two or three seasons? Have you not seen them go and win at Man City earlier in the season?
"Absolutely [the fans] worry because they're used to 20 years of success and you want it more. I've no problem with the fans booing, I'm not sitting here to go against the fans and say: 'Don't boo the players'. I defend the players because I know that they're young lads who want to do well. Is there an issue with confidence? Yeah. Is there an issue with the balance of the squad? Maybe, yeah. But when I say people don't understand [how hard the job is] I'm not patronising everybody and expecting them to have an idea of what's going on behind the scenes, but when you work with it, you understand it's the Premier League.
"If you think Brentford are going to come and turn you round and have corners and throw-ins and think you're going to walk that game, that's not the case any time. But literally when you're in this moment with a lack of confidence, then it can be difficult to win a game.
"And so when I hear I’m exonerating the players - far from it. I’m just supporting them in the fact that they’re in there disappointed because they performed like they wanted to win it."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lampard's return as interim manager has been a disaster so far, with the Blues tasting defeat in each of his five games in charge. Chelsea started without a recognised centre-forward against the Bees, with Conor Gallagher struggling to perform in a makeshift striker role.
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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal, reeling from their damaging Premier League defeat to Manchester City, are next on the agenda for Chelsea on Tuesday night.