Frank Lampard always knew he had a big job on his hands and a losing start to his return as interim Chelsea manager on Saturday only confirmed that.
The 1-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers made no difference to 11th-placed Chelsea’s Premier League position but was hardly what was needed ahead of a Champions League quarter-final first leg at holders Real Madrid next Wednesday.
The focus is now fully on that match at the Bernabeu and Lampard, a record scorer at a club where the goals have dried up, was not writing off his side’s chances despite the odds against them.
“It’s a different competition, it will be a different type of game and it’s up to us to prepare in the right way and anything can happen,” the former England international told Sky Sports television.
“We respect the fact we’re playing the current holders so we have to focus on that now and cannot be too despondent.
“We’ll certainly analyse the game and we have to make improvements because we feel we want to be better and the only way to get better is hard work.”
Chelsea managed only one shot on target at Molineux, and that was a tame effort.
Despite having 62% of the possession, and making 517 passes to Wolverhampton’s 313, Chelsea failed to pose a threat against a side fighting their way out of relegation danger and now 12th overall.
In the league, Chelsea have only 29 goals to their credit from 30 games and have not scored in their last three league matches.
“It’s a big task,” said Lampard, who told his players at half time that Wolves were playing with more aggression and hunger in their game as a team fighting for their Premier League survival.
Tackling the causes of the goal drought is a priority, and Lampard recognised there was work to be done on building confidence and changing the mindset.
“We have to find the reasons and solutions for that. The only way I know is to work,” he said.
“Some players here haven’t got a history of scoring goals, maybe fresh to the league or are new players. You have to give them time and work with them.
“At the same time, we’re Chelsea and want to score goals and win games so we have to find a solution to that.”
Lampard made two changes to the line-up, with Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher on from the start and Ben Chilwell on the bench.
French international N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, both recovering from injury, were not in the squad although the former at least is likely to be back against Real.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came on for the last 20 minutes.
“I have to try and use everything, we want to assess the squad quickly and try and find the best players to win games,” said Lampard.