‘We don’t concede many shots but when we do… we concede goals’

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‘We don’t concede many shots but when we do… we concede goals’: Frank Lampard reels out the stats to defend how open his tactics leave his Chelsea team – after shipping 63 in 43 games
Chelsea conceded a last-minute equaliser in the 3-3 draw versus Southampton
The Blues have shipped 63 goals in 43 league games under Frank Lampard
The Chelsea manager did point out that his side don’t conceded many shots
Yet the Blues need to find some form at the back ahead of playing Sevilla

Frank Lampard has rejected criticism of his leaky defence amid concerns the problem could undermine Chelsea’s season — but appeared to criticise beleaguered goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea’s Champions League campaign gets under way tonight when they face Europa League holders Sevilla at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard’s men have kept just one clean sheet from their opening five Premier League games this season, conceding nine goals in the process.

Those frailties were exposed again on Saturday as they conceded three in a home draw against Southampton.

Chelsea’s defensive problems have long been a headache for Lampard, whose side have conceded 63 goals in 43 Premier League matches since his arrival — the worst record of any Chelsea manager.

However, Lampard is adamant Chelsea are on the right track defensively, citing that his team have reduced opposition to the second lowest number of shots behind Manchester City in that period.

But the boss does admit his team have a glaring problem in keeping the ball out of their net once opponents are presented with opportunities — comments that once again appear to suggest dissatisfaction with goalkeeper Kepa’s contribution.

‘Since we have been here we have conceded the second- least shots in the Premier League behind Manchester City so sometimes it helps you to narrow down some of the issues,’ explained the Stamford Bridge boss , who also revealed that young midfielder Billy Gilmour could return to action within four weeks.

‘The issues are that we don’t concede too many shots on goal but when we do, we concede goals. It’s something we are aware of when you look at our recruitment.’

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta said: ‘When you’re weak defensively sometimes we feel like we have to score three or four each game.’

Chelsea are not giving up hope that new first-choice keeper Edouard Mendy will be fit tonight having missed the draw with Southampton through injury, but Kepa and Willy Caballero are vying to play if the summer signing is unavailable. Chelsea’s defence is at least boosted by the expected return of Champions League veteran Thiago Silva.

Lampard believes the disruption to pre-season has played a role in the difficulties Chelsea have faced, but is backing his squad to end their defensive woes.

He added: ‘I keep talking about the need for work, with new players coming into the squad it’s understandable to have moments in games.

‘It’s something that needs to be worked on with time.

‘The Southampton result was a lesson to be learned because we don’t have so much time with the players so far this season.

‘But that will come for us.

‘We need to make sure those lessons are learned quickly and the players have been made very aware of that.

‘Every training session and team meeting is for us to get better.

‘The clear fact here is when normally you’d have one month of pre-season, we haven’t had that here. Nor have other teams and maybe that’s a factor in other results we are seeing.’

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