Frank Lampard is preparing to confront his Chelsea players over a downturn in form following the recent international break with Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Everton the latest setback.
Chelsea were outfought by the Toffees who were led by their caretaker manager and legendary ex-player Duncan Ferguson following Marco Silva’s sacking in midweek.
The loss to Everton means the Blues have only won one of their last five games, failing to keep a clean sheet in that time.
The 41-year-old has seen his players praised for much of the season but he is ready to take a harsher tone following their latest loss.
“Hurt is not the word. I want to win. If I was here smiling and saying how well we played you would think I was crazy. We should be better than that,” Lampard said at Goodison Park after the defeat.
“There are home truths all the time, whatever game you play. The players need to consistently hear that. We have got a good bunch and good group in there. In the Premier League, the competitive nature of it, there are going to be times where you have difficult patches or you lose games.
“It is certainly not the end of the world, but it is important that we take on board the lessons of games like today and West Ham. We have had a week where we were poor, fantastic and poor again. That lack of consistency is not going to get us where we want to be.”
Chelsea must next beat Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to ensure that qualification for the knockout round of the Champions League remains in their own hands.
Ajax and Valencia will play in the other game in Group H and they can knock out Chelsea in certain circumstances and send them into the Europa League.
Certain teams have physically overpowered the Blues in recent weeks and Lampard doesn’t want that to be an area that Lille look to exploit, adding that youthfulness is no excuse for being out-muscled.
“They have to get used to it quickly. You can give them a tiny bit of room maybe for the fact of the youth of some of the team, but at the same time they might be young but they are not silly. They know that physical contact happens in games like this,” Lampard added.
“Games get broken up, balls go direct into you box. It is another thing to deal with it better. There are teams who play that way. They all knew it was coming. We are not slight physically, especially if you look at our centre-backs and Tammy [Abraham] up front, for instance. We should have been aware.”
In the Premier League, Chelsea remain in fourth place but the gap for the coveted final Champions League position is only five points with Manchester United and Wolves, with Tottenham six points behind.