Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has insisted that it is far too early to assess any side’s credentials as ‘title contenders’, as the Blues prepare to face Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial clash on Sunday.
After an indifferent first few games of the campaign, Lampard’s side appear to have struck a balance and are unbeaten in the league since their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool back in September.
With Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva now settled in in defence, the Blues finally look to have solved their backline woes, while in attack the number of attacking options at Lampard’s disposal means that goals surely won’t be an issue as the season continues.
As they prepare to face an equally in-form Spurs side on Sunday – both sides knowing a win would see them end the day at the top of the Premier League – Lampard has admitted it’s far too soon to know if either side will be in the mix come the end of the season and that his side still need to prove that their current form can be sustained.
“I keep saying the same thing – there’s a long way to go. The thing that separates the top teams who win titles to the others is consistency,” the Chelsea boss told the media at his pre-match press conference.
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“So over a short period of games, I don’t think it’s enough of a period to say that ourselves or any other teams are up there at the moment, or are actually going to be title contenders come the end of the season. That’s all still to be proven by us.”
While the former England international seeks to dampen the talk of winning titles, there is no denying that Sunday’s match is vitally important and would be the perfect statement regarding their title credentials.
The Blues have already lost on penalties to their London rivals in the Carabao Cup earlier this term and Lampard urged his players to prioritise ‘focus and concentration’ in order to get past Mourinho’s side this time around.
“Against Tottenham we had two very good performances last season and won the games” he added. “There are other performances through the year where we didn’t so much. There was a game earlier in the year against Tottenham where we played very well for half the game, not so well in the second half.
“I’m continually trying to find those improvements in how we prepare for games, but also aware that every game’s different and we meet a Tottenham team in very, very good form.
“My only feeling for a game of this size against a rival like Tottenham, is the players must absolutely feel the focus and concentration levels needed for this game. We will deal with the tactics, we will have a plan of how we want to work against Tottenham to bring out the best in us, but focus and concentration, two really simple words, will be huge in a game at this level.”
See also – Chelsea v Spurs – Combined XI