Chelsea dumped Frank Lampard’s Derby out of the League Cup on Wednesday despite a valiant effort by the Championship side to battle back from a defensive Halloween horror show.
Maurizio Sarri’s much-changed side eventually emerged 3-2 winners, with all five goals coming in a helter-skelter first half, on a night when there were also fourth-round victories for Arsenal, Tottenham, and Middlesbrough.
Two astonishing early defensive errors at Stamford Bridge from Fikayo Tomori – on loan from Chelsea – and Richard Keogh either side of a Jack Marriott equalizer gave the home side a 2-1 lead.
Undaunted, Lampard’s side levelled shortly before the half-hour through Martyn Waghorn before Cesc Fabregas restored order for the Premier League high-flyers.
Lampard, one of Chelsea’s greatest-ever players, felt his side deserved a draw on chances created but said he was a “lucky man” to be able to enjoy such an occasion.
“The difference between the sides was they scored three… actually we scored four didn’t we? I joke because I’m proud,” he told Sky Sports. “Talking to their staff, they’re saying we’re playing well.
“I respect this club, I don’t have to talk about this club. I’m proud of my players.”
The 40-year-old former England midfielder received a rapturous reception on his first return to Stamford Bridge as a manager, soaking up the atmosphere before kick-off.