Tuesday 12 December 2017

Lampard: Neither team wanted to lose heavyweight clash

Frank Lampard of Chelsea
Frank Lampard of Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard believes a mutual fear of defeat stopped either Manchester United or the Blues making the breakthrough in a goalless draw at Old Trafford.

The Barclays Premier League title rivals could not be separated in David Moyes' first home game as United manager and Lampard feels the status of the game as a "big decider" kept both sets of players from taking risks.

He said: "It was tense. People talk about big decider games early in the season and neither team wants to lose. It was a bit of a stalemate in those terms.

"We worked hard to stop the threat they've got up front and they worked hard to stop us."

Blues captain and defender John Terry agreed with his team-mate, saying: "Neither of us had too many chances to win the game.

"I think both teams looked solid and it's obviously a great point for us away from home.

"It's a tough place to come. It's out of the way and we move on now.

"I think both midfields and attacks cancelled each other out a bit and neither team wanted to lose the game so early on in the season."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was more concerned by a lack of cohesion between defence and attack - but he was happy to take a point nonetheless.

"I think the result is fair," he said. "I think nobody did enough to be better than the opponents.

"I think we controlled the game for most of the time, for a match at Old Trafford we didn't have real problems but going from defensive situations to attacking situations was not the best.

"There are very fast and creative players in attack but the ball possession was not the best, we lost simple passes and made mistakes.

"In terms of attack we didn't give what we could or what we should have. I told the players before the game 'we want to win, we will play to win'."

The Portuguese had said he would postpone his pursuit of striker Wayne Rooney, the subject of two bids from Chelsea who impressed for United tonight, until the league meeting was out of the way.

But having witnessed the warm reception given to the England international by the home fans, he is less convinced Rooney would want to leave a "very special club".

Mourinho said: "This club must be a very special club because at every club in the world, when the player wants to leave they don't support him.

"When a player wants to leave they give him a hard time but (here) they support him all the way so I think this is a real special club with special fans so he decides that he wants to stay.

"If that is his decision then we will be the first to respect that.

"It depends on this, it depends on his reaction, it depends on his feelings. If now, he does not want to leave, we are out of the scene - but we need to know what is happening."

Manchester United manager Moyes, meanwhile, was heartened by Mourinho's description of the club - if not particularly moved by continued probing on the Rooney issue.

He said: "He's got one thing right - this is a special club.

"We've said to you people from day one that you want to keep asking me and it's very difficult to keep saying sorry, but that's the case and we've told you that from day one."

The Red Devils have also been linked with a move for Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, after it emerged that Real Madrid may have a rival for the player's signature.

Moyes refused to deny the link but he admitted United remain interested in securing the "best players" before the transfer window shuts on September 2.

"I said at the start when I got the job that Manchester United will always be interested in the best players and we're always looking to try and improve the team," the Scot added.

"The owners have given me every opportunity to bring in who I want and we'll continue to try and find those players.

"It's been tough in this window but we're always looking at the best players.

"I can't give you any more."

Press Association

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