What Chelsea boss Lampard said after Ajax thriller

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Chelsea boss

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has admitted his side’s 4-4 Champions League draw with Ajax from three goals down against their nine-man opponents is something he can not explain.

Two own goals from Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga, either side of Jorginho and Quincy Promes netting, as Chelsea conceded three first-half goals for the first time in the competition on Tuesday.

Ajax earned a 4-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half at Stamford Bridge and were 4-2 in front – Cesar Azpilicueta pulling one back – when Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were both dismissed in quick succession.

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Hosts Chelsea capitalised on the two-man advantage as Jorginho converted from the penalty spot and Reece James netted 16 minutes from time, but Azpilicueta was denied a late winner by VAR as Abraham was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.

Chelsea are level on seven points with Ajax and Valencia in Group H with two matches remaining and Chelsea boss Lampard was ultimately pleased with a draw in London.

“I can’t explain the game,” he told BT Sport. “For all the things we might analyse back, the madness of the game, we are here for entertainment I suppose and anyone who watched that has to say what a game of football.

“Respect to Ajax, what a spectacle. I don’t think I have been in a game like it. I said at half time it will be 3-3 or 4-4, we were so in the game.

“We looked dangerous and I felt we would build momentum. I am not happy overall – this is the Champions League and we made too many mistakes.

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“At half-time I would have taken a draw for sure. Let’s take it as what it was.”

Chelsea’s comeback was no doubt helped by the dismissals of Blind and Veltman in the space of a minute.

Blind was shown a second yellow card for fouling Abraham and defensive team-mate Veltman followed him down the tunnel for handling Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot in the same attacking move, while Azpilicueta’s late strike was also controversially ruled out in another game dominated by VAR.

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“The red cards and VAR… every manager is talking about VAR,” Lampard said at his post-match news conference.

“I need to watch that back and see them. When you are on the sidelines it is difficult to grasp straight away.”

Second-half substitute James made a telling impact from the bench as he became Chelsea’s youngest ever Champions League goalscorer at 19 years and 332 days.

“He is a fantastic young player,” Lampard said. “I felt we wanted more on the right-hand side. He is going to be a top player. He has got great quality.

“The modern full-back to join in, some are doing in an outstanding way.”

However, the teenage defender felt Chelsea should have gone on to claim a third successive European win in the remainder of the match.

“They were hard to break down and we took advantage of them going down to nine men, it was a shame we couldn’t win,” he told BT Sport.

“Scoring a goal is a bonus. The manager told me to come on and liven the boys up. We had chances to win it but from where we were at half time it’s a good result.”

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