Chelsea boss, Frank Lampard recognises the coming weeks will continue to be tough on his squad, pointing at their return from international duty in October as the time when the Blues’ fortunes must start improving.
After losing out to Premier League holders Liverpool last weekend, big-spending Chelsea were staring down the barrel at the second defeat in three games on Saturday following a woeful first-half performance against West Bromwich Albion.
Callum Robinson hit twice and Kyle Bartley also scored to put the newly promoted hosts 3-0 up after just 27 minutes, with all three goals coming from a string of shocking errors from the Londoners’ defence.
The second half proved far more positive for Lampard’s charges, with Mason finally getting them on the scoresheet 55 minutes in to close the gap to two goals.
Callum Hudson-Odoi then struck before Tammy Abraham netted a dramatic injury-time equaliser, earning the Blues a draw which nevertheless failed to satisfy their manager.
“We have two big games coming up against Tottenham and Crystal Palace. I expect to see an improvement in our performances,” Lampard told BBC Sport.
“But in terms of team fitness, it won’t be until after the international break that I expect to see us up to our real level, especially in terms of on the ball, because we haven’t had time to work on that yet.”
“It is two points lost at the end of the day – and that’s no disrespect to West Brom. You come here and you know the transition and any mistakes would be something they would jump on – that and set pieces. You can’t legislate for the mistakes that there were today.
“It was mistakes, clear mistakes [that cost us]. You can have as many meetings as you want but with those mistakes you give yourself a mountain to climb. [We lacked] a bit if urgency in the team.
“We created two or three great chances in the first half. I felt we would create more, the only other problem at 3-0 was West Brom were going to protect their lead more. It is a big lesson for us. We will get a lot better, we’re still finding our way with new players and a lack of pre-season. Today is part of the process of getting better.
“There is a lot we can keep getting better at. I’m not going to criticise every part of our game, I think they had three shots on target and got three goals. There were genuine mistakes. There was nothing tactically you can analyse again and again – there were just pure mistakes.”