Frank Lampard wants Chelsea to banish the memory of a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season when they come up against Manchester United again on Monday night.
The Red Devils produced a superb counter-attacking display to see off the Blues in emphatic fashion on August 11, with Marcus Rashford bagging a brace and Anthony Martial and Daniel James also getting their names on the scoresheet.
Lampard’s first competitive game in charge of Chelsea wasn’t a complete disappointment, however, as the visitors dominated possession while creating several clear cut goalscoring opportunities throughout the 90 minutes.
United have also recorded a 2-1 Carabao Cup win away from home against Chelsea this season, in a much tighter game which was ultimately decided by a stunning Marcus Rashford free-kick.
Despite those two results, it is the Blues who currently occupy the final Champions League spot in the Premier League standings, with United six points off the pace in ninth.
Lampard is eager for his side to “correct” the loss in Manchester when United arrive at Stamford Bridge, as he told Chelsea’s official website: “It was only a surprise probably having watched the performance, it wasn’t a 4-0 game.
“I would be the first to criticise ourselves and I was honest with the players afterwards. I said: ‘Look, that’s not a 4-0, let’s not walk away from the small details that made it 4-0, but don’t take this as a big kick in the teeth, because it shouldn’t be on performance.’
“Then a few days later they went toe-to-toe with the best team in the country this season by a mile, Liverpool, and possibly should have won the Super Cup.
“I didn’t find the defeat to Manchester United was a real seminal moment. It didn’t feel nice on the day, it would be great to correct it tonight, but at the same time, I didn’t take it as a huge hurtful thing.
“I could see in those two performances against Manchester United and Liverpool what the team could achieve this season.”
Lampard was unable to add to his squad during the summer transfer window due to a transfer ban, which was overturned before the reopening of the market in January.
Chelsea were free to do business over the winter, but ultimately failed to bring in any new players, which means a club legend will have to continue maximising the output of the young squad at his disposal between now and May.
Lampard hasn’t been afraid to rotate his starting line up in order to boost competition for places, with number one goalkeeper Kepa recently dropped for Willy Caballero after a string of mediocre performances.
“With the competition in squads now I do think you have to always be aware that if your standards drop or if the manager chooses to leave you out for whatever reason, then that can happen and you have to handle it in the right way,” Lampard added on how he manages his squad.
“It happens to most people during their career. I don’t expect smiling faces when people get dropped, I just expect reactions, I expect support for their team-mates.
“It’s not easy. I’m saying this as a manager, but I know as a player I wasn’t brilliant at that myself, but from where I’m sitting now I try to push that and I think that sometimes it can be something that just makes you stronger.
“The group should always support their team-mates anyway. We’re playing at a high level and there’s competition in the squad, you have to respect the player that might be coming into the team at all times.
“I’m there to support the players, they know that I’m on their side, even though I can sometimes make decisions that they don’t like. You need a strong supportive group that stays together no matter what, throughout the season, through the 50 or 60 games we play when lots of things are going to happen.
“It is the brutal reality of life, of football, of our careers, that everyone has these things. You can’t pull the wool over their eyes and be too sweet about it, because the only thing I ever found that got me back in the team or through a difficult moment was hard work on the training ground.”