Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has insisted that Ross Barkley has been the club’s designated penalty taker all season following the midfielder’s late miss from the spot in the 1-0 Champions League defeat against Valencia on Tuesday night.
Chelsea were trailing as a result of a second half strike from Spain international Rodrigo, but a handball from Valencia’s Daniel Wass gave the home side the chance to equalise.
Barkley, who had come off the bench just moments earlier, took the ball. However, as he stood waiting to take the kick there was a discussion with both Jorginho and Willian. The former appeared to give his blessing, but the latter seemed more reluctant to walk away.
Barkley gestured with his hand a number of times to the Brazilian as if to say ‘I’m taking it’, or ‘I’m the penalty taker’. Unfortunately for Barkley, his subsequent effort missed the target.
Chelsea fans on social media immediately questioned why Barkley had been the one to take it when they believed Jorginho to be the designated taker. The Italian had been first up in the UEFA Super Cup shootout against Liverpool, while Barkley was second that night.
But Barkley had earlier stepped up and scored from the spot against both Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach during the summer, and Lampard was quick to clarify the situation in the wake of his costly miss.
“Ross is our penalty taker and he has been since pre-season when he scored a couple,” the boss told Chelsea TV after the game.
The subject was further raised when Lampard faced the media at the post-match press conference and he explained that Jorginho and Willian had been the penalty takers on the pitch, but only until Barkley came on as a substitute.
“Ross is the penalty taker. He was in pre-season and scored a couple. He has been when he started; he was when he came on and he missed it,” Lampard said via the Daily Telegraph.
“I don’t know what the conversation was but Jorginho and Willian were the takers on the pitch. When Ross comes on, he becomes the penalty taker and he missed it.”
Barkley reiterated his manager’s words in comments published on Chelsea’s official website.
“When I’m on the pitch I take pens, but I obviously didn’t execute it right,” he said. “I felt confident. Everybody misses penalties. I take penalties every day, I scored penalties in pre-season. I have missed penalties before, it’s just one of those things.
“We’ve got a lot of good penalty takers in the squad. On the sheet in the changing room it says I’m on penalties if I’m on the pitch, otherwise it’s Jorginho.”
As for what Jorginho and Willian were saying to him, Barkley declared they were just ‘encouraging me to score the goal’, rather than debating who should have the ball.
Cesar Azpilicueta has also since referred to Barkley as ‘one of the best penalty takers in the team’ and ‘the one who takes them’. The captain also backed up Barkley’s assertion by stating that Jorginho and Willian only offered words of encouragement.