Lampard’s first Chelsea loss leaves him discontent with quality on show
Photo via Getty Images - Massahi Hara

A late goal saw Frank Lampard fall to his first defeat as Chelsea manager to reigning J1 League champions Kawasaki 1-0.

The Blues dominated much of the possession with a greater number of shots however the mid-season Japanese side were aggressive and clinical in front of goal.

Lampard was discontent with his team’s quality on the ball and in front of goal but insisted he was pleased with a number of performances.

Embed from Getty Images

A goal in the dying minutes

Cesar Azpilicueta led Chelsea out for their third preseason game and first in Japan. Having remained unbeaten in Ireland, the Blues were in high spirits.

The South West London club dominated possession and built through the thirds. However, the aggressive reigning J1 League Champions defended well and forced the Blues to make mistakes. 

A goalless first half left the second 45 all to play for. January signing Christian Pulisic was soon introduced with the final third left to play on his debut. 

The difference in match sharpness began to shine through the cracks as the full-time whistle beckoned. David Luiz failed to clear the ball from a wide free-kick which resulted in Tawasaki getting a second bite of the cherry.

A looping cross found Leandro Damiao lurking at the back post who headed the ball down into the net.

Embed from Getty Images

'We want to win matches no matter what'

Having dominated much of the game, the 41-year-old said that the Blues must be more clinical in front of goal and show greater quality in possession.

He told the Chelsea wesbite: “People are finding their fitness and their form. There are the normal things in pre-season that take a bit of time: being clinical in front of goal which we were not, but that comes, and some small details we will work on.

“Our quality of play on the ball was not quite what we want. We will get there. In front of goal it was a similar thing." 

Lampard continued: “We are not quite as sharp as we want to be, but we are working towards that and I’m confident it will come. I have got no fears. I was happy with big parts of the performances.”

The Chelsea manager said he was pleased with the players’ physical performance as they work towards match fitness.

“Obviously we want to win matches no matter what,” he added. “But 10 days of pre-season having flown into Japan three days ago brings up a lot of difficulties for us physically.

“That’s why I was very pleased with the players physically. They gave everything in strong humidity with some good individual performances. I discovered a real appetite and attitude to work in the humidity with jetlag for a lot of the players."

Mount showed promise

Mason Mount recently signed a new five-year contract with the Blues having impressed on loan at Derby County under Lampard.  Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer was impressed by the midfielder’s efforts despite the defeat.

“I thought Mason’s performance was really good,” he commented. “It was a continuation of how he played for me last year on loan. 

“His energy is quality even though he has not been with us long. We know Mason is part of the first-team squad this year, and it is time for him [step up].

“His qualities will improve even more with the quality around him. Everyone knows the hopes I have for Mason, and he showed a glimmer of what we may see this year and going forward.”