Chelsea boss Frank Lampard reserved praise for midfielder Mateo Kovacic after his side’s demoralising 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge.
The Bundesliga giants all but sealed their place in the last-8 of the Champions League with a comprehensive win in west London thanks to a double from former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry and a late third from Robert Lewandowski.
Chelsea were outclassed throughout and Marcos Alonso was sent off in the dying stages to top off a dispiriting night for Lampard’s side.
Lampard warned his side afterwards that their defeat was a ‘reality check’ but he did find time to single out Kovacic for his individual performance.
‘They need to understand the levels that the Champions League is when they get to the knockout stage,’ said Lampard.
‘A lot of the players there today either haven’t played it, played maybe the Europa League, which is a big difference, or played it a few years ago [but] certainly not at Chelsea to a point where we got to a success of semi-final, final, win it kind of times.
‘So when you have an eye-opener like tonight, the only answer young or old is to look at it and say, ‘I’m not going to look at any other part of the team [other] than myself, who was I up against? Who was my direct competitor? How did I play against them?
‘I thought there were a couple of performances in our team, namely Kovacic, who played with a personality and a quality that makes you go, “okay, he can play in pretty much any team with that level”.
‘Other than that we need to say tonight wasn’t a night where we showed that, and that’s on an individual to take responsibility.’
A bad night was soured further with returning forward Tammy Abraham appearing to pick up a knock in the dying minutes of the defeat.
The striker has been battling for fitness in recent weeks and was only fit enough for a place on the bench for the visit of Bayern.
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