London (AFP) – Frank Lampard accused his Chelsea flops of complacency after they blew the lead in Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal.
Lampard’s side made the perfect start at Wembley as Christian Pulisic fired them ahead.
But Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised from the penalty spot before half-time and made it 2-1 with a fine finish after the interval.
“We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal and had other chances. From that point, we can only blame ourselves in football terms,” Chelsea boss Lampard told the BBC.
“We decided to take control as in being complacent, let’s try and play short passes like it is a bit of a stroll. A final can never be a stroll and we allowed them back into the game.”
Lampard had tried to get his players to refocus, but he conceded Chelsea have been hampered by a lack of cutting edge and defensive mistakes all season.
They weren’t helped by the extremely harsh second half dismissal of midfielder Mateo Kovacic and injuries to Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Denied his first trophy as Chelsea boss, Lampard couldn’t hide his frustration.
“All I can do form the sidelines is shout. There are elements in our game that we have worked hard on all year, but that is in you as a group,” he said.
“We were slow, we played back on ourselves, invited pressure, then didn’t really know where to go from that. We didn’t play well enough to win a final.
“It doesn’t help to have two hamstrings (Azpilicueta and Pulisic) and a dislocated shoulder (Pedro), then Willian got injured yesterday and had to pull out.”
Despite their Cup final misery, Chelsea had already achieved their main aim by qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a fourth place finish in the Premier League.
Lampard’s season isn’t over as Chelsea travel to Bayern Munich on August 8 for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
But the Blues trail 3-0 from the first leg and Lampard did not want to think about that daunting task just yet.
“I’m not even thinking about next week. It’s the end of a long, long season and it was the tipping point for us,” he said.
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