Frank Lampard vowed that his Chelsea charges would return to the Champions League better and with more experience after seeing their 2019-20 campaign ended in emphatic fashion by Bayern Munich on Saturday.
The odds were stacked against the Blues going into the last-16 second leg, with Bayern 3-0 up on aggregate.
Chelsea were also missing a host of key players through injury, and paid the price in a one-sided clash at the Allianz Arena.
Robert Lewandowski hit twice while Ivan Perisic and Corentin Tolisso also found the net as the Bundesliga champions ran out 4-1 winners, with Tammy Abraham scoring the Blues’ consolation.
Bayern advanced to the quarter-finals with a 7-1 aggregate advantage, inflicting Chelsea’s biggest-ever defeat over two legs in European competition.
Lampard nevertheless refused to criticise his depleted charges, and insisted that they would come back a stronger team for the 2020-21 edition.
‘It’s a good exercise for us to go up against Bayern and their Champions League experience, with a lot of our players having debut seasons,’ the Blues manager stated to BT Sport as his first season at the helm at Stamford Bridge officially came to a close.
‘I can see where I want us to go and I know we’ll be back.
‘They performed all right. Difficult to say after a 4-1 defeat, not happy but when you concede two early we did get back into the game after that.
‘When you match our Champions League appearances to theirs, I saw lots of good things in the team and also some of the bad we have seen this season. We had individual errors that gave them goals and at this level that will finish you off.
‘It is a work in progress. It is not the norm for Chelsea. We lost the best player in the league pretty much in Eden Hazard. People would not normally commend coming fourth for Chelsea. We want more but the feeling is we have achieved something with the group we have. Now is the time to think where we can improve.’
Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero commended Bayern as worthy victors, while also committing his future to the Blues for the coming season.
‘A few things wrong, we arrived here with a difficult score from the first game. But we conceded the penalty and it was a little bit difficult,’ the Argentine told BT Sport.
‘We showed good character to play the game and then they showed more quality in our box so they deserve to be in the next round.
‘We did a proper tournament in the Premier League – we are in the Champions League [next season] which is good for the team, there’s nothing to regret today.
‘I have a contract for one more year. I’m really happy to play in this shirt and I would like to keep playing. I became the first choice and we will see what happens in the future, I will work hard to have this opportunity again.’
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