Frank Lampard has acknowledged Chelsea can expect more ‘pain’ if he is allowed to complete his Stamford Bridge rebuilding work.
Blues boss Lampard admits to feeling the ‘heat’ in the wake of Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League loss to Manchester City in west London.
Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne fired City into a 3-0 lead in just 35 minutes, with Callum Hudson-Odoi bagging a late consolation for the hosts.
‘I was real after we beat Leeds (3-1 on 5 December) saying that we’re not title contenders, and I’m real now saying it takes time,’ Lampard said.
‘Any build or rebuild takes pain; pain behind the scenes and pain on the pitch occasionally.
‘This is a difficult period and I understand the reasons why. Today the first half showed me the reasons why and we have to keep fighting and I’m the first one who has to keep fighting.
‘I’ll always feel heat: I felt heat when we were on our good run, because I know that around the corner can be a negative.
‘Maybe [N’Golo] Kante you can take out, but when you look around the team, there’s a lot of youth, a lot of new players that are trying to come in and settle.’
Chelsea have now suffered four defeats in their last six league matches – but Lampard refused to talk for his bosses over his long-term future.
‘I’m not going to speak for people above me or the board, it’s not for me to do that,’ he said. ‘It is what it is on those terms, I can only speak about it as I see it, as a manager and a club.
‘When we had 16 games unbeaten I still saw those flaws in our game. When we’ve lost four games I still see those flaws now.
‘And I can’t think about what people say beyond, because I can’t be distracted.
‘I’m relaxed about peaks and troughs of form. I expected periods of difficulties this year, and I’ve spoken about that a lot already.
‘I said it when we beat Leeds and people were championing us as title contenders.
‘Whether it puts pressure on me or not, it doesn’t matter. A month ago everyone was asking me whether I was going to sign a new contract, and now they will be saying different things.
‘But over a busy period we’ve lost four games of football, so the pressure remains constant and you know it’s there.’
He continued: ‘My job is to keep working, my job is to lift the players who felt that in the first half.
‘We’re fighting to try to match those levels and I know it takes us time.’
City boss Pep Guardiola opted to include Benjamin Mendy in the match-day squad despite the full back admitting he breached social-distancing rules with New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Asked if he had considered leaving out Mendy, Guardiola said: ‘No, he’s part of the group, he’s one of the good guys. It must be love in our group. He’s a special guy for all of us, he has an incredible heart.’
The visitors stormed to victory despite a clutch of players missing after a coronavirus outbreak, leaving Guardiola delighted that his team had rediscovered the rhythm that has brought the club two Premier League titles in the past three years.
‘We are not a team to make a big transition 40, 50 metres,’ he said. ‘Raheem [Sterling] can do it, but no more, we need to play one type of tempo.
‘We cannot play in that way. We are not good in that way.
‘So we have to play another type of tempo, and do it in the right moment.
‘Our success in the past was in this way, and always we try it.
‘Today we were able to do it, and the players were fantastic.’
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