Wednesday night saw a troubled Chelsea side lose 2-0 to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. Interim coach Frank Lampard spoke after the game in an interview that appeared on AS.
“The door is open, it’s up to us if we want to kick it open next week or not. There’s mixed emotion about the game, we were in the game, we could have done better. We can utilise our strengths better: with the system of wing-backs, we could be more urgent. That’s what we have to work on. I could see opportunity there tonight, the spirit at the end of the game was great. A lot of things can happen, and we didn’t give them lots of great chances. I have to be the first one to believe that it’s possible.”
Chelsea faced Real Madrid 12 months ago, also in the Champions League quarter-finals, when they lost 5-4 on aggregate.
Lampard pointed out that his team want to prove the critics wrong in the second leg. “The fans will come and support us. We’re 2-0 down to Real Madrid and that’s a fact and that’s done. We’re in a place where we want to change the tone and prove people wrong. It will be different next week, we’re not favourites, we weren’t favourites today.”
Despite Raheem Sterling and João Félix having quiet games, Lampard had positive words for the attacking duo. “I think the game for Raheem and João Félix was tough. In the system that we played, defensively they had to put in a lot of work and their man threat can sometimes be counter-attack or protecting the ball. And it was a difficult night for us I think at the top-end of the pitch. But Joao is a big talent, as is Raheem. So I’m not here to criticise or comment too much. We’ll go away and analyse that side of it.”
João Félix had a chance to put his team ahead early in the game, but was closed off very well by a lightning-quick Éder Militão who denied him the opportunity. The match prolonged Félix’s dry streak against Real Madrid. During his time at Atlético Madrid, the Portuguese forward lost three games and drew three and he has failed to score and assist against Los Blancos. Atleti’s only victory against Madrid during his time at the club was in a friendly win, but the forward was injured.
Nicolás Antúnez de Mayolo | GSFN