WOLVERHAMPTON, United Kingdom, Dec 15 – Frank Lampard believes Chelsea have become complacent after the Blues blew a lead to lose 2-1 at Wolves and suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time during his reign in charge.
Twice in four days Chelsea have wasted the chance to move top of the Premier League after losing for the first time in 18 matches at Everton on Saturday.
Lampard himself called into question his side’s title credentials after a 1-0 loss at Goodison Park at the weekend and believes his players may have got carried away with their unbeaten run.
“Performance is what gives you results. We were playing very well, on a long unbeaten run and then maybe the lads think ‘we’re playing well’. The minute you think you’re playing well, things like this can happen,” said a visibly irked Lampard after Pedro Neto broke clear to win the game in the 95th minute.
“If you’re not playing well which we weren’t tonight, hang on to the 1-0. Play, control the game, and don’t allow counter attacks like we did.”
There was more evidence that Chelsea are still a team in transition after a £220 million ($294 million) transfer spending spree as two of their big money signings, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, again failed to sparkle.
Lampard’s men remain in fifth, three points adrift of Tottenham and Liverpool at the top, ahead of a clash between the top two at Anfield on Wednesday.
Victory was no more than Wolves deserved as they bounced back from two consecutive defeats since losing top scorer Raul Jimenez to a fractured skull.
“We reacted well,” said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo. “I think we were always in the game. We were well organised and second-half we played really well.”
– Chelsea disappoint –
Other than bursts from Christian Pulisic past the struggling Nelson Semedo, Chelsea created precious little from open play.
Set-pieces caused Wolves more problems as Olivier Giroud headed over when he should have hit the target before Kurt Zouma crashed a header from another corner off the crossbar.
Giroud was razor sharp four minutes into the second-half as he volleyed Ben Chilwell’s cross towards goal and the ball slipped through Rui Patricio’s grasp and just over the line.
Going behind awakened Wolves and Fabio Silva was denied his first Premier League goal since a 40 million euro ($47 million £36 million) move from Porto by an offside flag.
Wolves had not scored in two games since losing Jimenez to a sickening head knock suffered in a 2-1 win at Arsenal.
But Daniel Podence produced a moment of magic as he twisted and turned inside the Chelsea box to find space for a shot and his effort deflected off Reece James and inside Edouard Mendy’s near post.
Chelsea’s record signing Havertz had another night to forget. The German international was replaced by Mateo Kovacic, while Tammy Abraham replaced the injured Giroud as Lampard went in search of a winner.
Yet, it was Wolves who looked the more likely winners in the closing stages.
Neto thought he had won a penalty when driving past James, but after a VAR review referee Stuart Attwell overturned his original decision as there was no contact on the Portuguese winger.
However, Neto was not to be denied on the counter-attack deep into stoppage time as he accelerated past Zouma and drove low into the far corner to move Wolves into the top half of the table and within three points of the top four.