Frank Lampard confirmed Ross Barkley is Chelsea’s designated penalty taker after the England international missed a late spot-kick in a 1-0 loss to Valencia in the Champions League.
Lampard became the first Chelsea boss to lose his maiden Champions League match in charge, as Rodrigo Moreno’s second-half goal earned Albert Celades a first win as Valencia coach.
Chelsea were handed a reprieve at Stamford Bridge when referee Cuneyt Cakir used VAR to deem Daniel Wass had purposefully handled Fikayo Tomori’s header on Tuesday.
Substitute Barkley pulled rank over Willian and Jorginho, who appeared to be debating with the former Everton man, to take the penalty, only to send his effort over off the crossbar.
But Lampard affirmed Barkley – who took Chelsea’s penalties throughout pre-season – is indeed the club’s first-choice from 12 yards.
“Ross is the penalty taker. He was in pre-season and he scored a couple and he was when he came on,” Lampard told a news conference.
“He has been when he started, was when he came on today and he missed it. That is the clear story.
“I don’t know what the conversation was [between them]. Jorginho and Willian were the takers on the pitch but once Ross comes on, it’s his and he missed it.”
1 – Frank Lampard is the first Chelsea manager to lose his first Champions League match in charge – 10 of the previous 11 had won, while Gianluca Vialli drew with Milan in 1999. Process. pic.twitter.com/g6JMOTAeA5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 17, 2019
Lampard’s side had control for much of the Group H opener, though Chelsea’s defensive frailties were exposed when Rodrigo prodded in Dani Parejo’s free-kick.
Chelsea’s head coach, however, believes last season’s Europa League champions would have been worthy winners.
“Probably a win, at least a draw. We created enough, good chances,” Lampard, whose side will also face Ajax and Lille in Group H, said.
“We concede with one shot on target. A game we played pretty well in and lost. For sure, losing at home first game makes it tough.
“In context, it’s one game done and it’s still a group that I think teams will take points off each other because all the teams are strong and will fancy themselves. There is certainly no reason to be too downbeat now, but we need to win games.”
The victory comes as a timely one for Valencia, whose off-field issues culminated in the sacking of Marcelino last week, a move unpopular with the squad.
Marcelino’s successor Celades, however, is not aiming to change the style of play too much, as long as the system works.
“I don’t have that ego, I want to do my job and have no regrets and do my best,” he told a news conference.
“We don’t have a lot of time to train. We didn’t want to lose too much of the good things. I have respect for everyone, but I want to talk about football.
“We have to focus on the future, it’s a hard-fought win and a difficult one. Playing in the Champions League is something the players earned and they showed a lot of commitment and we have to be proud.”
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