Chelsea manager Frank Lampard`s Premier League debut as manager of the club with whom he enjoyed so much success as a player ended in a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday and the 41-year-old accepted his team had received a `reality check`.
Lampard took over from Italian Maurizio Sarri in July, returning to the west London club where the midfielder won three league titles and a host of other trophies in his 13 years.
The visitors hit the woodwork twice in the first half but were 1-0 down by the break and then conceded two quick goals as Lampard suffered the heaviest defeat by a Chelsea manager in their first game in charge since Danny Blanchflower lost 7-2 at Middlesbrough in 1978.
"We are missing internationals and big players but I don’t want that excuse," said Lampard.
"The team we put out today was clearly competing in the game for long periods but we made four mistakes and they were clinical in the way they put them away. There`s a reality check for us all," he said.
Tammy Abraham and Emerson struck the frame of the goal before halftime and Chelsea played some attractive football until United`s powerful counter-attacking play exposed the away side`s defensive weaknesses.
"They are a counter-attacking team, it’s a big strength, they have pace and if you turn over the ball or give them opportunities they will counter," said Lampard.
"For massive parts of the game, we didn’t allow them to do that. We were the ones winning the ball back, but our final ball wasn`t great. We were so comfortable in the first half, so loads of lessons for us."
"We can`t make unforced errors and mistakes at this level. At the same time, it was nowhere near a 4-0," he added.
Lampard was reluctant to dwell on the positives for his team but was justified in his view that the scoreline did not reflect his team`s performance with the ball.
"Four mistakes for the goals, but we controlled major parts of the first half. We hit the woodwork, poor decisions in the final third when we should be able to get shots away, we should be in the lead at halftime," he said.
"Early in the second half I didn`t mind it -- and then two mistakes for their second and third goals - it`s much easier for them to play at 3-0 up. At 1-0, we were the better team, but I can`t stand here and look happy with that."