Monday, May 29, 2023

Frank Lampard says Chelsea will only focus on themselves as the season ends

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 May 2023


Frank Lampard said pride will motivate his side in the season’s final weeks rather than the impact Chelsea could have on the fates of other teams.

The Blues are adrift in 11th but could yet have a say in the race for the title, the Champions League and the struggle to avoid relegation with games to come against three of the Premier League’s top four after they face 16th-place Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Victory over Steve Cooper’s Forest at Stamford Bridge would open the door for Lampard’s former club Everton to make headway in their bid to avoid the drop, with three points the difference in a tense four-way fight to stay up.

With Southampton adrift at the bottom, Leeds and Leicester occupy the last two relegation places with Everton and Forest two and three points ahead respectively.

“We play for pride in every game no matter what the consequence for everybody else,” said Lampard, who was sacked by Everton in January after a year in charge with the team second-bottom of the table. “It’s our consequence that we’re concerned about.

“Everton’s fate is in their own hands at this point, it’s not in my concern. I lived that life last year, I have a lot of connection to the club, the year I had there was a really enjoyable time for me.

“I support them from afar. It’s not my concern as Chelsea manager. I hope they get the job done because I know what that feeling is.”

After Forest, Chelsea will round off what has been a miserable campaign with games against title-chasing Manchester City at the Etihad and a trip to Old Trafford to face Champions League hopefuls Manchester United, with both opponents in desperate need of wins.

They face Newcastle at home on the final day but Eddie Howe’s team will hope to have already secured their place in the top four by then.

They will be looking to end the season on a relative high after ending a run of six straight defeats under Lampard with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth last Saturday.

The manager was asked whether the mood around Cobham had been transformed by the team’s first win since 11 March when Graham Potter was still in charge.

“In football it can be that simple but you can’t get carried away over a win,” said Lampard. “I could look at defeat and see positives, I could look at a win and see a lot we need to improve. It’s nice for that general feeling of confidence in the building, but in terms of where we want to be it’s a small step.

“Celebrating all week is not going to be the answer. Another game comes in the Premier League with a team fighting for their Premier League lives, we have to match that intensity and desire because those are the rules in the Premier League.”

The Blues will be without Reece James and Mason Mount who are both out for the season, whilst Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly are unlikely to play before the final game. Wesley Fofana is back in training and is available for Forest.

The Bournemouth win ended a wretched run that had seen the team score only four times in nine games on their winless run.

“It’s hard to directly compare performances,” said Lampard. “When you take chances, you can win games and a lot of other stuff can be glossed over for good or for bad. We’ve scored from a set piece, we’ve not done that enough this season. We were clinical in the third goal which kills the game. We’ve had opportunities this season to be clinical.

“We’ve had opportunities to be clinical at that end of the pitch, and if you can’t do that it’s hard to get into the top half. You can’t conjure that in a short period, it had to be developed, worked on, recruited.

“But we were more clinical, I thought the performance was good. It’s not a question of taking us to where we want to be in this period, because the time isn’t there.”


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