FRANK LAMPARD has hit back at critics, including Jose Mourinho, after his humiliating first game as Chelsea boss.
The Blues were stuffed 4-0 at Old Trafford in a disastrous managerial debut for new Stamford Bridge boss Lampard.
Chelsea were without Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Willian through injury – while N’Golo Kante could only come off the bench.
The Blues manager was under-fire for not starting Kante and leaving Willian out the squad – but the 41-year-old was adamant his team selection was correct.
Lampard said: “I don’t have to be too concerned about what anyone else says, the pundits, but what is clear is the squad is the squad we’ve got and I believe in it.
“I can’t drag people out of the medical room, whether they’re experienced or not. The players we played today, and on the bench, are the players we have.
“We were missing internationals and big players, but I don’t want that to be an excuse. We were competing for long periods.
“We made four mistakes and they put them away. It is a reality check for us all. It wasn’t a 4-0 game for long periods, but we need to accept it.”
Lampard gave starts to academy products Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount – with the duo showing positive signs in the first-half.
But ex-Chelsea and United manager Mourinho, working as a pundit for Sky Sports, claims naivety was shown in the Blues squad selection with more experienced players benched.
Mourinho said: “Chelsea were too soft, not compact defensively, not aggressive enough, there was too much space between the lines. They did not press in blocks.
A little bit of experience would fit well with the team. You look to the performance of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and for matches of this dimension you need a little bit more.’
Mourinho on Lampard’s squad selection
“If Kante can play 30-35 minutes he can start the game. And then if he lasts only one hour then he lasts one hour.
“But maybe Frank listens to us and says Kante is impossible to play. My feeling is that they had a possibility to play with more know-how.
“(Marcos) Alonso was on the bench, Kante was on the bench, (Olivier) Giroud was on the bench, and to come to Old Trafford, even if this is not the huge Manchester United that used to scare people, it’s Manchester United.
“A little bit of experience would fit well with the team. You look to the performance of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and for matches of this dimension you need a little bit more.’
“There were moments seeing this game that Chelsea without the ball had a block of 6 and a block of 4. Abraham, Barkley, Pedro and Mount stayed up.
“Good teams all defend compact, higher block or lower block but always in a block. So there are principles of play that are just basic.
“You have to defend compact. Chelsea was never that. So it was too easy for United.”