Frank Lampard is not going to protect his young players from the scope of the task ahead.
First they have to put Manchester United away on Monday evening if they want to consolidate their grip on a spot in the Champions League.
Looking to the future, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James, who so far have been the story of this season for Chelsea, will have to take on a new challenge: the summer arrivals.
(L-R) Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount did well at Chelsea this season
A transfer ban and the inability to do business in January have given the Chelsea academy an incubation period that allowed them to develop freely.
The announcement of the £ 33 million signing of Hakim Ziyech this summer from Ajax was just the beginning. From here the normal life of Chelsea resumes.
Lampard knows this feeling. He was a decent midfielder when Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003.
Summer after summer the club signed stars midfielders – Tiago, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack. Now he can admit that he was not always enthusiastic about the new signing sessions in his position.
Frank Lampard admitted that he initially did not like new acquisitions such as Michael Ballack
“Yes, in truth [I wasn’t],’ he said. “I think that’s a good thing. You must respond in the right way. I certainly felt it. And because I felt it more and more, I probably got better at accepting it.
“When I was young, I was probably a little afraid of it. As I grew older, I probably took on the challenges with a little more maturity and felt, “What can I do to show that I deserve to be on the team?”
“Those challenges were good. Looking back, they were part of the process of making me. Because when you put something in front of someone, they go for it or they get worse. And I think I have accepted that challenge. Of course the players have to constantly pick that up and squadrons now look different.
“There is more competition, there are larger squadrons, there are probably more physical demands than there have ever been before. They must understand, these younger players, that they are part of a team that wants to go somewhere. And show that they deserve to be in the middle of it. “
Boss Lampard praised his young accusations, but wants them to continue to improve
The summer should see new arrivals – Jadon Sancho is still on the club’s radar, just like center-forward Moussa Dembele from Lyon.
“Top clubs will always want to improve,” Lampard said. ‘That will be a challenge for the young players that they simply have to respond to positively. It is part of playing here.
“The young players have had a major impact. We trusted them to a certain extent because we knew we couldn’t bring in anyone. During the season we knew that difficult times would come. You are now looking at Tammy Abraham and perhaps at Mason Mount. I think the break was particularly good for them – they can come back and hopefully show more levels in their game.
“They have been going through difficult times lately, and it is now up to them to show that they are a big part of our plans, regardless of who we bring in.”
Large summer arrivals are probably an important target with Jusson Sancho from Borussia Dortmund
For now, the task beats United. A gap of nine points, which Chelsea can open up on them, would make it difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team to review Lampard’s in the race for the top four, or the top five, when Manchester City is banned from the European league .
Lampard will impress his team that this week – with United and Tottenham coming to Stamford Bridge – when they will really show if they have the battle to make the top four.
“I don’t mind the reality of it, I like the reality of it,” he said. “I think the players should know that this is what it’s all about. If you want to make the top four, we are in a good position. And we can seriously influence it in the next seven days.
“That’s okay with that in mind. We have to be somewhat focused. Training should be somewhat focused as it was today and people are tense and competitive. And you have to take that into account in the match against Man Utd. “
The manager seems refreshed after taking time to relax during the winter break of his team
Thanks to Lampard’s own stopover, he was able to reset. He looked exhausted before he left, but has been refreshed and insists that although fourth may be the goal for this season, catching Liverpool must be the club’s goal.
“There was a lot of self-reflection,” Lampard said. ‘If you have some time off, you get some clarity. I think we should be happy that we are in fourth position. I think that would have been a plus at the start of the season, but how can we get the extra 10 or 15 percent at the same time, which I think we lacked, which would have given us many more points, the board and the fourth look a lot more comfortable?
‘So I came back enthusiastically to save this long run to the [end of the] season. Every point hurts that you feel that you have fallen. At the same time we have to realize where we are, we are in a transition phase and this Premier League has never been this competitive. T
‘here are Sheffield United and Wolves as well as United and Spurs. Everyone gets this TV money, many teams have spent it, teams improve and are tactically aware and you get nothing in your own way.