By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Jose Mourinho’s absence was not a factor in Chelsea’s defeat to Stoke, according to Frank Lampard.
The club’s record goal-scorer refuted the suggestion that Mourinho’s one-match stadium ban was a factor in the Blues’ 1-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium, their seventh Premier League loss of the season.
“For me, no, it made no difference,” Lampard told Sky Sports afterwards. “He would have set out his stall but it’s up to those players when they get out there. They would have been wanting to win for themselves first and foremost, then for the club and for the manager.
“I don’t think we can put it at all on Mourinho not being there. Stoke deserved to win the game. It was a close game and on play Chelsea could have got the result, for sure. But with Stoke getting a goal and hanging on, you have to give them credit for that.”
Lampard’s fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp is also convinced that the Portugese’s absence from the dugout made no difference to the outcome.
“They have won two out of their last 10 away games before today and Jose Mourinho has been at all of them, so it made no difference whatsoever,” explained the former England midfielder.
“I’ve questioned Chelsea’s desire at times this year. I don’t think they’ve been good enough pretty much all season. They were a little bit unlucky today and created enough chances to win two or three games.
“The problem is every game Chelsea have team against them are playing well. They’re becoming too easy to play against and that is a major problem.”