Frank Lampard has discussed his first season in charge of Chelsea and admits he has been pleased with his side’s progress, though insists he wants ‘a lot more’ as the club look to challenge the division’s leading sides.
Lampard has guided Chelsea to fourth in the Premier League during an encouraging debut season at Stamford Bridge, the former midfielder having been widely praised for his integration of the club’s best young talents following a transfer ban at Stamford Bridge.
The club’s promising youngsters have raised optimism for the future, but Lampard is keen to urge patience from the west London side’s supporters, admitting there is a significant gap to ‘bridge’ before the club can begin to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
“I don’t want to jump the gun because what Liverpool and Manchester City have done has been clear; I’d be a fool to suggest we can bridge that gap quickly because there has been a lot of hard work at those clubs in terms of recruitment of top players, of great coaches,” Lampard told Sky Sports’ The Football Show.
“We have to be part of that process. We have to do it our way, we can’t try to copy. We have had experienced players around this year to help the youngsters but we know there are little areas within the squad… some of that’s what we have on the ground here already, some of that is how we might look to recruit.
“What’s going on in the world has made it very difficult to plan on that front. But going into this break I certainly felt we were moving in the right direction and with continued progress and work on the training ground, as well as potentially bringing in some players in key areas to try and help us bridge that gap, yes, I’ve got a strong belief that we can [challenge].”
Lampard has also reflected on his own development since taking charge of his former side last summer and admits he has been ‘pretty happy’ with his handling of a first role at Premier League level.
The Blues’ boss insists he will continue to look to improve ahead of next season and has used the current suspension of football to plan ahead, as Chelsea seek the consistency required to challenge for the game’s major honours.
“I’m always the first to criticise myself and look at what we could have done better. I’m pretty happy with where we are in fourth. It was always going to be a difficult, competitive year for us to be in and around that top four and we’re there at the moment.
“How can we progress from here? We have youth; we’ve been searching at times for consistency, which I think can happen with a young team. I’m pretty happy with where we’re at but I want a lot more. As a manager, you’re never ready to settle.
“This situation has given us time for reflection but you do miss that day-to-day feeling of being with staff and players. I’ve tried to use some time to reflect and start planning and looking forward. As a manager, a lot of that preparation time is a big part of what we do; as a player, I’m sure they’re champing at the bit.”