EPL

Chelsea weren't ruthless enough – Lampard bemoans frustrating Brighton draw

By Sports Desk January 01, 2020

Frank Lampard criticised Chelsea for failing to see off Brighton and Hove Albion before half-time on New Year's Day, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh's sensational late strike earned a 1-1 draw.

The Blues led early through Cesar Azpilicueta and were then comfortable for the most part until they came under increasing pressure in the final 10 minutes.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into impressive saves either side of a stunning overhead-kick from Jahanbakhsh.

Chelsea also could have clinched the points in the closing minutes, yet Lampard did not believe they should have been in a position where the game was still in the balance.

"It was frustrating for different reasons," he told BT Sport. "In the first half, the game was there to be won.

"We weren't ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession. But we just didn't kill the game off. We allowed them to stay in the game.

"In the end, it was a wonder goal. But we were lucky not to lose the game. In the end, the tactics matched up for both teams. But they were better than us. We have to take that on the chin."

Jahanbakhsh had not appeared in the Premier League this season until December and, despite joining Brighton in 2018, only scored his first goal for the club against Bournemouth on Saturday.

A second strike in quick succession brought the Iran winger further delight, as he reflected on "a very tough time".

"It's obviously a great feeling to be involved in such important games," Jahanbakhsh said. "I've been working hard to get my chance.

"I was finally there last game and tried to help the team and make an impact. It had been a long time that I didn't play, but I'm very happy to help the team and make the people happy.

"It's been a very tough time for me, but I'm very glad I've turned it around. It's been two great games, and I'm really happy to help the team to get points."

Related items

  • A-League Review: Wanderers thrash Adelaide in seven-goal thriller A-League Review: Wanderers thrash Adelaide in seven-goal thriller

    Western Sydney Wanderers closed to within four points of the top six with a thrilling 5-2 A-League drubbing of Adelaide United.

    There were six goals in the first half at Bankwest Stadium in which the visitors went 2-1 up after trailing just five minutes in, only to surrender their advantage in a manner described by coach Gertjan Verbeek as "comedy capers".

    Pirmin Schwegler's deflected free-kick five minutes in was cancelled out by a Riley McGree penalty, and Ben Halloran's composed finish made it 2-1 22 minutes in.

    Two goals in two minutes turned the match on its head, though, Nicolai Muller making levelling before Mitchell Duke finished emphatically after being sent through by Simon Cox.

    Duke headed in a second before the break to give the Wanderers a two-goal cushion, and Cox's clever after 73 minutes capped a fine outing for Jean-Paul De Marigny's side, who are now seventh.

    In Friday's earlier game, Wellington Phoenix claimed a 2-0 win over Western United to climb into third in the table.

    Mark Rudan's side kept Wellington at bay thanks to goalkeeper Filip Kurto until Liberato Cacace steered a volley beyond his reach 29 minutes in.

    David Ball finally made the points safe with a fine strike in the 90th minute straight from a clearance from goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, leaving United with plenty to consider having failed to score a goal in February and with only one win from eight matches.

  • Sterling hails 'fantastic club' Real Madrid amid speculation over Man City future Sterling hails 'fantastic club' Real Madrid amid speculation over Man City future

    Raheem Sterling has described Real Madrid as "a fantastic club" amid speculation over his Manchester City future.

    The LaLiga giants have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old over the past two seasons, but City's looming ban from Europe has fuelled those rumours further.

    Sterling insists he is happy at City, where he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and the FA Cup since moving from Liverpool in 2015, but he cannot disguise his admiration for Zinedine Zidane's side.

    "Right now, I'm at City and I'm really happy," Sterling told Madrid sports publication AS.

    "But I say Real Madrid are a fantastic club. When you see the white shirt, you know exactly what the club stands for. It's massive. But at the same time, I have a contract with City now and I have to respect this. But it's a fantastic club.

    "No one knows what the future will hold. I am a player and I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at Manchester City. In the future, hopefully, who knows..."

    City were given a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA after being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, although the club insist they have done nothing wrong and intend to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    Speaking on the issue, Sterling said: "It's something we don't know much about yet because it's something that has not been confirmed. The club has a long way to go and we just have to wait and see what happens, but I have full confidence in the club."

    City face Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu taking place next Wednesday.

    Sterling is relishing the challenge of facing the 14-time champions of Europe and does not think there is anything lucky about Zidane having led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs from 2016 to 2018.

    "We had a good reaction when we knew that they will be our rival," said the England star. "If you want to do well I think the best thing you have to do is to play against the best teams straight away and there is no better challenge than Real Madrid.

    "It is always going to be a difficult game whether they are in a good or a bad moment, just because of the atmosphere, the historical stadium that we are going to...

    "It's going to be a difficult game, especially now that they are doing really well, but at the same time I’ve got full confidence in our team and if we get it right on the day, I believe we can win.

    "I think to win the Champions League so many times, especially in a row as well, is very difficult. I don't think that's luck; it's definitely a formula. Some people have that winning mentality and he wins by any means. So I wouldn't say that it's luck, I'd say it's something he has probably developed over his great career as a player and he's developing his career as a manager, so it continues this winning touch."

  • Solskjaer tells Martial to toughen up as Man Utd striker targets 20-goal mark Solskjaer tells Martial to toughen up as Man Utd striker targets 20-goal mark

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Anthony Martial to reach 20 goals for Manchester United this season but wants the striker to toughen up.

    Martial scored for the 14th time in all competitions on Thursday to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie with Club Brugge.

    That goal came just three days after the forward's expert header put United ahead in their 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    No United player has reached 20 in a single campaign since Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18 and, although Marcus Rashford is on 19 for 2019-20, his back injury is likely to see him miss almost all of the rest of the season.

    Solskjaer thinks Martial is showing signs of getting used to playing as a centre-forward after time spent as a winger, and he expects to see the 24-year-old keep up his form.

    "I think Anthony can step up and get a few more and get to the 20-mark, definitely," Solskjaer said.

    "He's got quality, of course. He's a very good finisher, he takes his chances really well, good technique in his finishing, and he's good receiving the ball at times, dropping off, he can play almost like a false nine at times.

    "Sometimes, I'd like him to be stronger physically."

    Describing Martial's header against Chelsea as "a 1980s centre-forward goal", Solskjaer added: "I'm encouraged by his attitude this season as well, wanting to do those things that are not natural to him. But you've got to make him a number nine again after playing wide for so many years. Marcus and Anthony have played wide until the last 12 months, really."

    Solskjaer wants to see a more clinical United against Watford on Sunday, having been deeply disappointed with the performance of his players in a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road in December.

    The United boss hopes January arrivals Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo – who spent three years with Watford – will add a greater cutting edge to his side.

    "That was a very disappointing game. We should have won that one. We gifted them the two goals and we had chances to pull away ourselves, but you can't win games if you don't take your chances," he said.

    "I feel that with Bruno coming in, with Odion coming in, we'll get more goals. That's been lacking in the games we've lost: West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, we've had chances and not taken them. You can see that Bruno gives us another dimension."

    United could be boosted by the return of Scott McTominay at Old Trafford, the midfielder having been sidelined since December 26 with a knee injury.

    "I think he might be in the squad," Solskjaer said.

    "I'm not surprised [by his quick return] because that's the type he is. He's a physical specimen, he's a leader, he never shirks a tackle and he brings everyone with him. And he can sit with Nemanja [Matic] or Fred or be one of the runners in midfield.

    "We were talking here today how we don't have enough runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, so he's used to being in the box."

    Thursday's draw in Brugge was another match where Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were not involved, the youngsters instead having played in a youth game.

    The future of the pair is unclear as they enter the final stages of their United contracts, but Solskjaer appears keen for them to stay.

    "We're still in talks with them," he said. "Tahith scored today. He'd rather play a game than sit in the stands here, so it's making sure he's ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolves in the FA Cup.

    "The boys have got great attitude, they're absolutely top-class boys and we're doing what we can to keep them. In a few years, you can see them being very, very good players."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.