Although Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was understandably unhappy with how his side let Southampton back into the game, his telling post-match assessment of the results will no doubt warm up the heart of Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Although clearly frustrated by the final result, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was gracious in admitting that Southampton were indeed the better side in the second half at Stamford Bridge.
Jannik Vestergaard’s injury time equaliser at Stamford Bridge was the carving knife that earned Southampton a share of the spoils, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men valiantly fighting back from a 2-0 deficit and again from 3-2 behind to earn a truly well-deserved point.
Match of the Day pundit, Alan Shearer, rightly commented that the draw was richly deserved by the Saints, as with Danny Ings and Che Adams also on target for Southampton in west London.
Unfortunately, for Lampard and his Chelsea side, it turned out to be another frustrating afternoon, with the Blues dropping valuable points from a winning positional advantage. Yet, being the straightshooter that he is, the Chelsea manager was magnanimous in concededing that Southampton were the better side in the second half as he pinpointed how Hasenhuttl’s men caused problems for them.
“I agree that they were the better side and on the flip side we were much the better side in the first half where we probably could have put the game beyond Southampton with more goals and of course we conceded late on, which can happen,” Lampard said.
“The second half was pretty clear cut for me. I wouldn’t blame the shape of the team, more that we didn’t deal with the fact that Southampton were really keen to put us under pressure in our own half. We wanted to miss out their press, we didn’t do enough and that meant we turned the ball over in our own half, which irrespective of shape is always a problem.
“I felt like we tried to make too many short passes in our own half, which gave them the possibility to win it back there. The message was for the players to miss that out, I don’t think we did enough and that made it much more difficult for us to have the control that we did in the first half.
“What you want when you are 3-2 ahead is to make sure you see out the game, that is obviously the disappointing factor from our point of view.”
Lampard’s comments will come as sweet music to the ears of Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is known for demanding a lot from his players with his high-intensity pressing style.
It has reaped rewards for Southampton on many occasions in the Premier League during Hasenhuttl’s time in charge, and did so again at Stamford Bridge, with both of the first two goals scored by Saints being prime examples of when the pressing paid off.