Frank Lampard was left puzzled with his Chelsea side after Saturday’s loss to West Ham – because they failed to foul anyone.
The Hammers eased pressure on boss Manuel Pellegrini with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Aaron Cresswell scored the only goal for the Irons, against a Blues side shorn of leading marksman Tammy Abraham due to injury.
But it was Chelsea’s work going the other way that frustrated Lampard.
It is the first time since stats company Opta started collating records in 2003 that Chelsea have gone through an entire 90 minutes without giving up a free-kick.
“When you look at it today, we made some changes and we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to,” said Lampard.
“That will be questions that are asked of us from the outside. It’s questions I will want asked for myself from the inside.
“We have shown some great stuff this season. I haven’t had to sit here many times and say: ‘We were below par today.’ Hardly at all.
“Today was one of those days.
“I don’t think it’s any time for harsh reactions and judgements across individuals or the team.
“It’s time for a look at a bit of character to see how our reaction is for Aston Villa.”
And he insisted: “I still believe in the squad.”
Lampard left Willian, N’Golo Kante, and Cesar Azpilicueta – three of the club’s more defensively-diligent players in different areas of the pitch – on the bench for the London derby.
“I had to think about the squad,” added the Chelsea boss.
“When we have a really taxing game where we give everything physically and arrive back late, I have to think about how fresh we can be.
“We’re not going to get through this season with the same 10 or 11 players.