Chelsea can­not just play well in short bursts, says Lam­pard

Man­ager wants top form for the full 90 min­utes Only late save pre­vented Wat­ford snatch­ing draw

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Football - At Vicarage Road John Percy

For most of Satur­day’s match here, the abid­ing mem­ory looked likely to be of Chelsea at­tack­ing in nearir­re­sistible waves while Wat­ford goal­keeper Ben Foster mounted a heroic and al­most lone re­sis­tance. But in the end, the defin­ing im­age was Chelsea goal­keeper Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga’s last-sec­ond save from Foster’s header to pre­serve a 2-1 win and three points that should never have been in ques­tion.

Fourth place, a fifth suc­ces­sive Pre­mier League vic­tory and a sev­enth away win on the spin in all com­pe­ti­tions con­firm that this Chelsea side has al­most ev­ery­thing re­quired of a top team: at­tack­ing tal­ent, res­o­lute, ath­letic de­fend­ers and the po­ten­tial to im­prove. But the last is ar­guably the most cru­cial, be­cause as yet the qual­ity they lack is the abil­ity to sus­tain all their other strengths over 90 min­utes.

Frank Lam­pard, the man­ager, agrees. “At times we are cer­tainly pro­duc­ing some of the form that I want from us,” he said.

“Our work off the ball in some games where we have been pushed hard, like Ajax away and Liver­pool, has re­ally pleased me. They have worked on that in train­ing to a level where they are fit enough. If I’ve got a gripe it is that we are not sus­tain­ing that for long enough.”

His ex­pla­na­tion? “Maybe it’s foot­ball. Look at to­day. Liver­pool go away and are be­hind for long pe­ri­ods, Man City [too]. So maybe I’m be­ing a bit de­mand­ing

“It is not al­ways as easy as it ap­pears, and foot­ball will al­ways be a work in progress.”

Ce­sar Azpilicuet­a, the cap­tain, felt that the is­sue on Satur­day was the fail­ure to add fur­ther goals to those scored by Tammy Abra­ham and Christian Pulisic. “We were dom­i­nant, es­pe­cially in the first half, and then we went to the op­po­site side,” he said. “If we were cling­ing on, it’s our fault. We know, es­pe­cially in the Pre­mier League, there is noth­ing taken for granted when you are 2-0 up.”

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