The first half-season of Frank Lampard’s hopefully very, very long tenure as Chelsea head coach is in the books. The verdict? Pretty fun. Not terrible, though at times flirting with danger. Not spectacular, though at times flirting with greatness. Just okay. Before the season, a top-four challenge and deep run in Europe would’ve met expectations, and that should still be the case.
But of course that will only do for so long. Just okay is not okay, as the commercial goes. Lampard of all people knows what it means to “be Chelsea” in the 21st century. It means trophies, pressure, big games, big expectations, and big signings. Lampard may have trusted the youth more than any manager in living memory, but Chelsea won’t forever sit idly by in the transfer market (by force or by choice), especially as we continue to stare at a massive chasm between us and the top of the league.
As a long-term goal, we need to start closing that gap once again. Lampard is all too aware, and he knows that we will need outside reinforcements to accomplish that in any reasonable amount of time.
“That has to be the aim. The transfer ban gave us - myself and the staff - the chance to look at the players and see what we’ve got, look at the youth.
“The more I see us play, the good and the bad, you change your feelings about how you want to go forward, but the end game will still be the same. Once we can start bringing players in, and the young players mature and get better, we want to bridge that gap and get up there.
“Whether that can happen next year I don’t know, that will depend on the work we do and how quickly it hits home, but I will certainly not leave any stone unturned in how I try and work to get us there. We’ll have to get recruitment right, that’ll be a huge deal, but we’ve shown at times this year we’ve got a chance.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Getting that balance right won’t be easy, but if we can recruit some of Europe’s best to combine with some of Chelsea’s homegrown best, we’ve got more than a chance.
If we can get that right, the future may indeed be quite bright.