Pedro Neto was the hero of Wolves in second-half stoppage time as he constructed a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea at Molineux.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea went into the match with the possibility of going at top temporarily, but Wolves showed admirable character to come from behind to secure a fine victory against the odds.
Kurt Zouma went closest to breaking the deadlock late in the first half as he hit the frame of the goal before Olivier Giroud did convert his seventh goal in as many games with 49 minutes on the clock.
Wolves were unperturbed; however, as Daniel Podence – a nuisance to Chelsea throughout – got himself a deserved goal in the 66th minute to restore parity, and then Neto struck the telling blow.
All of a sudden, the smooth sailing of the Blues takes a setback that did not satisfy Lampard at all.
Lampard believes his side may have taken their foot off the gas following a strong run of form that saw them near the top of the table.
“Performance is what gives you results, and we had a long run of good performances but maybe the lads think we’re playing well, and when you think you’re playing well this is what happens,” Lampard told Amazon.
“Maybe it’s for the players to think about the game while they’re resting. Think about tonight, think about Everton. This is the Premier League and if you don’t perform, you lose games.”
“At 1-0 we should see the game out,” he said. “If you’re not playing that well, which we weren’t tonight, hang on to 1-0. Control the game. Don’t allow counterattacks, and we did.”
“We have been given a different kind of games in these last two, Everton made it difficult for us to break them down – we didn’t succeed with that – and Wolves played very much a counterattacking style. The players have to feel that on the pitch because the message was very clear about their counterattack and individuals who could hurt us and that’s disappointing.”
“We had enough players to deal with it but we weren’t properly prepared to counter-press. We kept Thiago Silva back, we had numbers to deal with it but we didn’t deal with it well enough.”
Lampard offered some mitigation by suggesting the busy schedule may have detracted from their energy levels. “There could be some fatigue,” he said.
“I hate to say it after a defeat because it feels like an excuse, but even in the first 60 minutes when we were the better team we didn’t have a zip about us. We’ve traveled up to Everton, come back, and then traveled to Wolves but everyone is in the same boat. We have a couple of injuries in areas which means I can make too many changes, so I understand that side of it.”
“We had a long unbeaten run and everyone sang our praises. I was the last one to do that, it’s my job to stay level headed on both ends. So I shouldn’t get too disappointed tonight as much as I didn’t get too elated after Leeds on the back of a really good run. But clearly, when we perform like we did today that’s not game management, that’s not the quality levels that we are striving for.”
“I still think there’s a lot of improvement to be done with the group, so I wouldn’t say I’m massively surprised because my experience with the Premier League tells me that if you drop your standards, which we have in two games, and particularly away from home, you can lose matches, so a big lesson for the players.”
A great opportunity lost and the Blues needs to reorganize things as early as possible.