As we approach the halfway point of preseason, Frank Lampard’s starting to formulate some ideas about squad composition, rotation options, and player roles for his Chelsea first-team. He has at his disposal 25 players currently, though a fair few of them face uncertain futures yet. That’s largely due to the five other players who are currently still recovering from various injuries back at Cobham or in Willian’s case, back in Brazil.
And it’s those five players (including Reece James!) who just might provide some “uplift” that Lampard’s looking for in order to start closing the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool — especially with the transfer market closed to us while others are making some excellent (and very expensive) signings (even Spurs!).
“Every day I read City are buying and Manchester United are going to buy. All these teams are going to do business and that’s going to strengthen them. So we have to be realistic, but then I see every day the quality we have here.
“And I think about the players not here like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Antonio Rudiger and Reece James, and I think we have a competitive squad. I believe in them and there’s more because we have a lot of younger players.
“There can be an uplift. That’s not me saying I’m going to make the difference. It will be the players who make the difference.”
A wise man once said that a good manager can make a team 10 per cent better but a bad manager can make that same team 30 per cent worse. Lampard can hopefully make that 10 per cent difference indeed, but at the end of the day, it will be up to the players to buy into his ideas and execute them flawlessly on the pitch. We have seen in recent years can happen when that does happen (2014-15, 2016-17), and we’ve also seen what can happen when that doesn’t really happen, especially in 2015-16.
But that all starts with hard work, whether you’re preaching José-ball, Conte-ball, Sarri-ball, or, Super Frankie-ball.
“The basics are the same. On the pitch I will ask for one thing and that’s absolutely buying into how I want to do it. I don’t think you can compromise on that.”
“The only way I know to change that gap is through absolute hard work and focus. Those basics don’t change, and with the transfer ban there is even more clarity because we can’t bring in players.”
And since we’re Chelsea, the other thing we can’t compromise on is ambition. Winning is our aim, trophies are our game.
“So there’s the challenge. Now, can we win the league? It’s going to be a big ask. But we have to set out with that mind-set.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Metro
Here’s to aiming high. And not shooting yourself in the foot.