Ashley Cole admits former Chelsea team-mate Willian looked ‘rusty’ off the bench in the side’s 1-1 draw with Leicester.
Mason Mount broke the deadlock in the 7th minute of the Premier League clash, dispossessing Wilfred Ndidi and finding the net, before the Leicester midfielder redeemed himself with a second-half equaliser.
The result means Lampard is the first Chelsea manager to fail to win any of his first three matches since Rafael Benitez back in the 2012/13 season.
Willian – who sustained a knee injury at this summer’s Copa America and missed Chelsea’s entire pre-season – came on as a substitute in the 71st minute at Stamford Bridge.
The Brazil forward struggled with the pace of the game and lost possession on a number of occasions as the Foxes secured a hard-fought point away from home.
Cole defended Lampard following the draw and argued that Chelsea were badly missing Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles) and Antonio Rudiger (knee).
The former left-back urged Lampard to ‘motivate’ the likes of Willian, Loftus-Cheek and Rudiger back to full fitness, with the Blues already five points behind league leaders Liverpool after two matches.
On Lampard being without some of Chelsea’s top players, Cole told Sky Sports: ‘Rudiger, Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] will add to this, we’re talking about not having enough goalscorers… maybe he [Loftus-Cheek] can give something different.
‘So, yes, they are missing players. Willian has obviously been away. He looked a little bit rusty today.
‘Frank needs all these players sharp now. Yes, it’s only two games in but he’s already getting judged.
‘So he’s going to have to be motivating these guys in a different way and say: “Hey, you better hurry up and start to get fit because I need you”.’
Lampard denied that his players were suffering from fatigue after their Super Cup defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday night.
‘I hate the tiredness excuse but it has to be a factor in the second half,’ he said.
‘I saw Liverpool play yesterday and I know it would have been tough for them. We were all in it together for 120 minutes.
But I think we are good enough that if that is the factor we can take it out by being better on the ball.
‘We turned it over too many times and allowed them counterattacks, which means you run a lot. I feel for the players a bit on that one but I don’t want to use it as the overriding excuse.’