Chelsea’s 17-match unbeaten run, which had us within a couple points of the leaders and even saw us go top for a night in the Premier League, certainly helped raise expectations (even further). But if any of us were truly entertaining any lofty goals for this season, we were reminded of the harsh reality in the recent losses against Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers. This Chelsea are still very much a work in progress, and we have a long ways to go yet.
“Looking at our early results, we saw some good and some not-so-good performances. We then went on a really good run which saw a lot of improvement in the team, so I’m pretty happy but we want more.
“We want to be challenging for titles, but we have to accept sometimes that it’s step by step. We’ve made some steps, but I feel we have the potential to make a lot more.”
The biggest step that needs to be taken at the moment appears to be consistency, which is the quality that Lampard has been harping on the most this season. That’s not something that will happen overnight. And the margins are probably as small as they’ve ever been in the league.
“In the Premier League, if you drop your levels ever so slightly in terms of energy and urgency in our game — which we did ... we dropped by about 15 per cent — you cannot win. It was a real strong lesson for the team, particularly against Wolves.
“Against Everton, they’re a tough opposition but I don’t feel we should’ve lost the game. Against Wolves, we didn’t look ourselves, so it was important we got the result against West Ham, where I felt the focus of the team was very good.”
Whether the West Ham win is the start of a new unbeaten streak or just a one-off result will depend entirely on just how well we can continue focusing and executing. The squad have as much quality as any, especially in attack, but individual qualities alone won’t win any titles — not without the mental fortitude, and of course the tactical acumen to match, day in and day out.
“We mustn’t get too far ahead of ourselves or too far down the line. We have to think of the short-term and the games in front of us and not be too reactionary after defeats last week or even wins and our unbeaten run. It’s about making continual improvement and that’s important for focus.”
“It’s hard [to set a target]. It’s clear I ask them every year to kick on - in my job, that’s what you have to do all the time, no matter what your situation. Coming fourth for us was a positive last year considering the circumstances around it but every year looks different and every squad improves around us.
“We bought players in and some of them need time, so I don’t set long-term targets. We’re trying to bridge a gap that was clearly there in the last few seasons to Liverpool and Manchester City in terms of consistency. We’ve had our moments of consistency and good form but we have to work to get even more consistent so we can challenge.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Sky
Clear eyes, full hearts, beat Arsenal.