Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has indicated his team’s failure to defend set-pieces is unacceptable in something that should be “simple”.
The Blues conceded their first set-piece goal of the season when Kyle Bartley scored West Brom’s third in the 3-3 draw on Saturday.
Despite a new season and a new centre-back in Thiago Silva, Chelsea’s set-piece problems persist.
It would be unfair to base that judgment on one particular goal but Chelsea’s defence has already come under fire after conceding 14 set-piece goals last season (joint seventh-highest in the Premier League).
Liverpool and Manchester City, in comparison, conceded only seven set-piece goals each.
Lampard is understandably unhappy about the situation, particularly that Bartley was left unmarked to guide the ball into the net from point-blank range, and sent a clear message to his players.
He told Chelsea’s official website: “When I spoke about mistakes before, I was relating to the set-piece goal because that’s not something that is difficult [to defend].
“Sometimes when you analyse goals from open play, there are many different factors such as what happens in certain areas higher up the pitch.
“But at a set-piece, when you are asked to mark a man then you have to mark a man, simple as that.
“If you let a man roll off the back of you to a score a goal, that’s a clear mistake.”
Lampard still believes Thiago Silva could lead Chelsea’s backline, despite his underwhelming Premier League debut.
“People will want to talk about his mistake [for the West Brom goal] and that’s fair, but at the same time, other than that one moment, we saw just how good he is,” the Chelsea boss argued.
“We saw his leadership skills, his quality and I think we are going to see more of that as the season progresses.”