Frank Lampard insists Chelsea are ‘moving in the right direction’ – even if his side miss out on a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Chelsea have enjoyed a promising campaign during Lampard’s first season at Stamford Bridge and currently sit third in the Premier League with two games remaining, though the west London side still require three points from their final two fixtures to be assured of their place amongst Europe’s elite next season.
Lampard’s side face a difficult run-in with a trip to face newly-crowned Liverpool this evening before a home clash against Wolves, and know any slip-up could allow Leicester and Manchester United – who each sit just a point behind the Blues and face each other on the final day – an opportunity to capitalise.
Lampard insists his side’s season will not be defined by finishing in the top four, suggesting Chelsea have overachieved given many people’s pre-season predictions, the club having dealt with a transfer ban last summer and the departure of star player Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
“I understand the black and white judgement of the outside world and the Chelsea fans about it because it’s a clear objective to get into the Champions League,” Lampard said at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Anfield.
🗣 "We're a long way off, we have to be realistic"
Frank Lampard on Chelsea's title hopes next season pic.twitter.com/GzxuJn8XLk
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 22, 2020
“We weren’t really in too many people’s [predicted] top fours at the start of the season. We’ve forced ourselves in there. I desperately hope we get there. But for me it shouldn’t put this club off its stride much because there were a lot of testing moments this year. We’ve shown intentions of moving in the right direction.
“I hope I’m showing that in the way I’m working with the players and I think the players are showing that with performances like Sunday [the FA Cup semi-final win against Manchester United].
“I get that it’s black and white on the outside. I don’t think it should be on the inside.”
Chelsea have occupied a top four position since October despite some difficult moments throughout the campaign, and Lampard admits he is pleased to see Champions League football remain in his side’s hands with just one more win required to seal qualification.
“I never thought it would be plain sailing but we’ve got ourselves in a position where with two games left it’s in our hands to get there.
“It’s whether the players can give a huge effort in these two games. We have a real desire to make the Champions League. It’s ours now to try and get it over the line.”