Frank Lampard hinted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have a role to play in Chelsea’s run-in after the striker made just his second appearance since February in the loss to Brentford.
The team’s goalscoring woes plumbed new depths at Stamford Bridge as a toothless 2-0 defeat on Wednesday extended their poor run to a single goal scored in the last seven games.
Aubameyang, who was frozen out under former manager Graham Potter, emerged from the bench at half-time and had a noticeable impact on the way Chelsea tried to play, lending their attack a badly-needed focal point.
Chelsea’s starting XI against Brentford have scored only 10 Premier League goals between them this season, and a tally of 30 in 32 games means only four teams in the division have fewer.
By contrast, relegation-threatened Leeds and Leicester have scored 12 and 14 more goals respectively than the Blues.
Lampard, who was unable to select Aubameyang for the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid after Potter left him out of his European squad, suggested there may be chances for him in the run-in.
“Auba has been a tough one for me because I’ve got complete respect for him as a player,” said Lampard. “He’s scored 300 and whatever goals in his career.
“He couldn’t play the two Madrid games for me because he was not in the squad, he came on against Wolves (a 1-0 defeat) and for a number nine particularly, to be sharp and to be playing regularly is key.
“He certainly has the profile of a number nine. We don’t have that elsewhere in the squad. So I did see a difference.”
Chelsea have won seven times in the league since Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel was sacked on September 7.
That run has seen three different managers try and coax results out of the squad assembled by owner Todd Boehly at a cost of almost £600million.
Lampard was asked whether he worried about the impact being associated with the club’s current demise might have on his reputation.
“I took (the job) on knowing the jeopardy of what it might be, but I’m very proud to manage here,” he said. “I came here (in 2019) when we had a difficult moment before, and we had big success in my first year. I went to Everton and had a challenge to stay in the league, I stayed in the league.
“People will perceive you in a different way anyway. In the short-term, I’m not worried. I want to win games, that’s clear. But I understand the problems as to why we’re probably not winning games.
“I got asked before about belief and how we’re going to change that. I can’t just say ‘lads, believe’ and they’re going to run out and believe all of a sudden. Those things take time and they take a bit of work, then maybe something goes in your favour. (Against Brentford), nothing went in our favour.”