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FRANK LAMPARD’S first competitive game in charge of Chelsea ended in defeat as his side were crushed 4-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 18 minutes but were lucky to go into the break ahead with the visitors hitting the woodwork twice in the first-half.
But the floodgates opened for United after half-time and goals from Anthony Martial and Daniel James, either side of Rashford’s second of the afternoon, condemned Chelsea to their biggest loss at Old Trafford since 1965.
“This is going to be a work in progress. We will have to learn some harsh lessons and correct them pretty quickly,” said Lampard after the game.
“But what I felt today, in the dressing room after the game and on the pitch, is that there are lots of elements to the game that I liked and four or five elements that I didn’t like and they were fatal.
“I saw lots of positive things today and we will have our moments. But what the fans want to see is a team trying to do the right thing and thats why they were so receptive and clapping the players at the end of the game.”
United's summer signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka both made their Old Trafford debuts while James had to make do with a place on the bench.
Paul Pogba also returned having missed the final pre-season friendly against AC Milan in Cardiff.
Alexis Sanchez was absent from the matchday squad having returned late from the Copa America where he put his recent poor club form behind him and impressed for Chile
With Chelsea hampered from strengthening their squad this summer because of a transfer ban, new manager put his faith in youth. Tammy Abraham lead the line while Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen started at the heart of the defence following the sale of David Luiz to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.
There was also a start for 20-year-old Mason Mount who made his top-flight debut having played under Lampard at Derby last season.
Christian Pulisic, who signed for the Blues in January from Borussia Dortmund but spent the rest of last season at Westfalenstadion, was on the bench along with N’Golo Kante who is returning from injury.
And it was the away side who who had the best chance to open the scoring when Abraham, who scored 25 goals in 37 appearances for Aston Villa in the Championship, spun away from Rashord on the edge of the box only for his goal bound effort to come off the post.
Minutes later United had a chance of their own when Martial capitalised on a mistake from Zouma but his effort was comfortably held by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
But the deadlock was finally broken just before the 20 minute mark when Zouma, who wasn’t having one of his best games, tussled with Rashford in the box.
Referee Anthony Taylor immediately pointed to the penalty spot and, following a brief stoppage while VAR confirmed the decision, Rashford stepped up to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
Rashford had the ball in the back of the net again on 35 minutes but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside with the decision again given the green light by VAR.
The visitors had a couple of chances to level the score late in the half but Ross Barkley’s effort was saved by the legs of David de Gea before Emerson saw his shot crash off the top corner of the goal.
And it was the Italian who had the best chance to get his side back into the game early in the second-half when Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross fell to the defender in the box but was again denied by De Gea.
Chelsea would be left rueing their missed chances as United turned up the pressure and netted twice in two minutes.
Martial put the finishing touches to a quick counter-attack that started with Maguire winning the ball on the edge of his own box before Rashford netted his second of the game latching on to the end of a Pogba pass from inside his own half.
And while former United manager Jose Mourinho, who was working as a TV pundit for Sky, had his name chanted by the Old Trafford faithful, James netted on his debut minutes after coming on as a substitute to round off a perfect afternoon for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It’s all about picking up points in the first game,” said the United manager.
“The performance in the second-half was very pleasing, that was the big plus. Coming into half-time we were a bit lucky. They pinned us back and created chances.
“But we settled a few nerves by speaking about some things at half-time and performed really well in the second-half.”
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