Frank Lampard feels Chelsea are suffering from a lack of leadership and personality in the dressing room this season, and blames that for their disappointing Premier League title defence.
Along with the likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech, Lampard was an integral part of the dominant Chelsea side that won three league titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and Europa League between 2004 and 2013.
However, only Terry remains of that quartet and he looks set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season when his contract expires.
This season has been one to forget for Chelsea in the league as a disastrous start left them languishing in the lower echelons of the table and saw Jose Mourinho sacked in December.
Guus Hiddink has revitalised their fortunes somewhat but they remain 11th and trail the top four by 11 points after 27 matches.
“What has happened to Chelsea does surprise me,” Lampard told the Daily Mail. “But I do worry about where the real personalities of the team are and to be a big team, you have to have big personalities.
“I do see a team now where John is the last mainstay of that identity.
“The team have to evolve and whether John leaves now or in a year, it will be a new bunch to what I know. But you have to keep that backbone. You have to have players who can dig in when it gets hard. Arsenal have lacked it for years. That’s why they’ve not won the league.
“We had a fantastic spirit at Chelsea. We are kind of famous for it now. People criticised us for it, to try to take away the gloss of what we were doing. Maybe Chelsea are looking for a more beautiful way. Fair play if they get to that beautiful way. Then we will all be happy with it. But that way doesn’t come that easily.
“The club have been trying to push it down that route with the players they have recruited. The problem is do you fall in the middle, somewhere between tough and beautiful? It’s nice football at times but it’s not that nice and it’s not really winning games. It’s not beautiful, beautiful stuff.
“They’re not a million miles away but need to buy two or three big players. Being 12th in the League is ridiculous. A bad year, they should be in the top four. A good year, they should be winning it.”
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