Chelsea manager Frank Lampard insisted there was no “unrest’ in the Stamford Bridge dressing room following Ross Barkley’s crucial penalty miss in the Champions League defeat by Valencia.
The Blues, trailing 1-0 to a goal from Valencia winger Rodrigo, were given a lifeline in the closing stages on Tuesday night when VAR flagged up a handball in the area.
Barkley, on as a substitute seven minutes earlier, assumed responsibility for the penalty but only after some heated debate with team-mates Jorginho and Willian.
The latter looked extremely unhappy to lose the argument, and even more so when the England midfielder’s effort clipped the crossbar.
Lampard, who was condemned to defeat on his Champions League debut as Blues boss, confirmed after the match that Barkley was Chelsea’s designated penalty-taker despite the on-field argument that preceded his crucial miss.
And, when asked after the game if there was any “unrest” in the dressing room at Barkley’s decision to take penalty, the manager was firm in his response.
“Of course not,” said Lampard. “We’re here to win and the only disappointment – Ross as much as anyone – is that we didn’t score the penalty to then have five minutes to win the game.
“I took penalties and I missed some but it comes with the territory. There’s no issue in the dressing room, we just wanted a result.”
Lampard added: “Ross is the penalty taker. He took some in pre-season and he has been when he has started, and he was today when he came on.
“I don’t know what conversation was, but Jorginho and Willian were penalty-takers until Ross came on the pitch.”
Lampard, who played 102 Champions League matches for Chelsea and captained them to their 2012 triumph, admitted his young team were given a harsh lesson on life among Europe’s elite.
He fielded four Champions League debutants, and Willian and Tammy Abraham went close to breaking the deadlock numerous times before Rodrigo pounced from a set-piece with 16 minutes to go.
“We probably should have won, or at least got a draw,” added Lampard. “We created enough chances, we had the penalty, and we conceded with their one shot on goal.
“It’s a harsh lesson but that’s Champions League football. We should have got more tonight.”