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Lampard backs Conte, but does not expect instant success over Manchester City just yet

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The team has stopped relaxing and started working

Manchester United v Chelsea - FA Community Shield Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Former Chelsea midfielder and now Chelsea legend, royalty, and fan Frank Lampard recently sat down for a chat with Gary Lineker for The Premier League Show on BBC, and spoke of his opinion on new coach Antonio Conte. A keen observer of all things Chelsea, Frank thinks the Blues made the right decision to hire Conte after the disaster that was last season.

I was excited as a Chelsea man when he came in, I thought they needed the discipline and a different angle from last year.

I think people were relaxed, I think they won the league, and they relaxed. The minute you relax in football, you turn the switch off, you can't turn it straight on again.

That's why I quite like Conte, he's known as a disciplinarian, he's working them hard in training - I speak to players there, John and a few of the other lads there, and he's trying to organise them, working them hard on the pitch.

Chelsea and Jose Mourinho pushed themselves to the very limit in the 2014-15 season and deservedly came away with a league and cup double.

After recuperative holidays in the off-season, including an extra week of rest, it seemed the players were too relaxed to go for it again however. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa returned well overweight, for example, and issues both on and off the pitch turned the previously dominant team to mid-table also-rans.

That relaxed attitude has been quickly replaced with one of hard work with Conte at the helm. From double training sessions to stricter and healthier diets, the players are once again giving their all on the pitch -- something that Lampard and all Chelsea fans alike are pleased to see.

That said, Frank does not immediately expect that team turn back into Champions in a League filled with other formidable teams. Speaking in New York, where he plays for the Manchester City affiliated football club, he chose Manchester City when asked for title favourites.

I think Manchester City. I think they've bought well - I love Stones. I think they've got the best goalscorer in the league in Aguero, he's a genius of a goalscorer.

I loved being there for a year, being around him in training, he's a goal machine. He'd stand around a little bit in training and he'd score goals for fun.

With a long season still ahead and strong teams up for competition, winning the Premier League will not be easy for any team.  Almost a quarter way through the season, the top five teams are separated by just one point.  But coach Conte has Chelsea sitting in fourth, right in the middle of the hunt, and moving in the right direction.  There's every reason to be feeling confident, even as we keep our expectations to modest, top four levels.