‘Too early to criticise Frank Lampard’ – Former Chelsea star Mario Melchiot responds to Jose Mourinho’s comments


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Mario Melchiot insists it’s too early to criticise Frank Lampard despite Chelsea’s opening day thumping against Manchester United.

Blues legend Lampard endured a nightmare start as manager as his side were hammered 4-0 at Old Trafford.

It was a tough start for Lampard as his Chelsea side were well-beaten at Old Trafford

Getty Images – Getty

It was a tough start for Lampard as his Chelsea side were well-beaten at Old Trafford

Chelsea started the game impressively and played the brighter football in the first-half, with youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount showing their potential and the former Aston Villa loanee hitting the post early on.

But the London side were ruthlessly punished by a number of key mistakes, with Marcus Rashford turning the game on its head with an 18th minute penalty after a clumsy foul from Kurt Zouma, while their three other goals came on the counter-attack.

Jose Mourinho was among those to criticise Lampard following the opening day drubbing, but Melchiot says any criticism directed at the rookie boss is premature.

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Speaking on Monday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the former Blues centre-back said: “I thought they started the game really well.

“When you go to Old Trafford it’s always tricky, but I felt Chelsea were in control in the first 15 or 20 minutes.

“Of course, when the penalty happens, it changed the whole game.

“It’s too early in the season to start talking.

“The only bad thing for Frank is the big games come so quick [Chelsea next play Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday].”

Lampard made a number of bold team selection calls, including handing starts to academy graduates Mount and Abraham.

Tammy Abraham, pictured here battling with Paul Pogba, was close to scoring a fine goal for Chelsea in the first-half when he hit the post

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Tammy Abraham, pictured here battling with Paul Pogba, was close to scoring a fine goal for Chelsea in the first-half when he hit the post

The duo were bright in the early stages, yet came in for further criticism from former Chelsea boss Mourinho – which stunned Lampard when he learned about his old manager’s comments.

Mount came under fire particularly for a moment in the second-half when he was through on goal but took too long to decide whether to pass or shoot, and eventually fluffed his cross.

Melchiot added: “You look at Mount  – he had two opportunities to strike the ball and it was purely down to experience, he was thinking too long.

Mount made his Premier League debut at Old Trafford and was not afraid of getting on the ball

Getty Images – Getty

Mount made his Premier League debut at Old Trafford and was not afraid of getting on the ball

“Sometimes too much time in the box is not a good thing, because you’re in two minds. He had two opportunities and he tried to square it instead of putting his foot through the ball.

“But hopefully Frank can keep the young boys motivated and he doesn’t let their heads drop too early.”

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talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up this week…

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