Thursday night’s performance from Chelsea against Manchester City greatly solidified the Blues’ top four ambitions. It set up a five-point gap to Manchester United in the spot below while also closing the gap to third-place Leicester City to just one point.
Among other notable items — *checks notes and squints at scribbles* — Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City crowned Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years and, amusingly enough, first time in the Premier League era.
Much of the narrative and the TV coverage (certainly in the UK) surrounding tonight’s match revolved around Liverpool, much to Lampard’s dismay in the post-match questions. That said, Lampard was resolute and respectful, praising Liverpool for their deserved Premier League title.
“We congratulate Liverpool. This game didn’t decide the title, that was decided a long time ago through Liverpool’s consistency and performances and wins. Fair play to them, give them full credit. They have great players and a great manager. I know the hard work that goes into trying to win a title, the competition they’ve got, we saw that with how good Manchester City were tonight. Congrats to them, they deserve it.”
Beyond Liverpool’s historic title, the match had serious implications regarding Chelsea’s ambitions to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Comparing his Chelsea squad to the elite level that Manchester City and Liverpool have shown in the past two seasons as title winners and title contenders, Lampard stressed the need for consistency. If Chelsea are to challenge for the title in the near future, putting together a consistent string of positive performances will be paramount.
“It’s a big three points for us but we’re in a battle here. It’s not going to be decided tonight. It’s a nice result which gives us confidence. Now the consistency we produce until the end of the season is what is going to define us this year, and get us the finish we want. There is no point in performing like that if we can’t get some momentum and sustain it. That only comes with focus and hard work.”
“I think we have to just look at ourselves and work. One result against City and a good performance tonight is a great feeling for us tonight but the reason we don’t amass enough points is because of the consistency of those two.”
“There is a clear gap and it won’t happen overnight with one or two signings. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Liverpool and City have been works in progress for a few years now and they are getting a lot of success, a bit of success now.”
Work, work, work.
We’ve heard title-winning managers stress this before. Antonio Conte famously said it repeatedly from day one until day last at Chelsea. It’s a concept that will need to be embedded in our current (young) squad as well if we are to continue our ascent into legitimate title contenders.
“We had to work a lot off the ball, as you do with Pep Guardiola teams and Manchester City. The way the lads showed the work ethic and focus throughout the game. How dangerous we were. We had the better chances in the game. It’s a nice result that will give us confidence but the consistency that we produce to the end of the season is what will define us this year if we are to get the finish we want to have.”
“I’m not getting carried away. We can get better. We can be better on the ball. We can have more possession. It’s one of the only games in which we didn’t have the lion’s share of possession but we have to accept that tonight and be happy with the result.”
Christian Pulisic was again the recipient of plaudits from Lampard post-match. The young American put in an excellent performance in his first start since New Year’s Day. With two goals in two matches in the middle of June, Pulisic is gearing up for a hot, hot summer for Project Restart.
“Christian came in last summer, and he didn’t really get a break. When he got in the team he was doing really well and then he got a really tough injury. I wanted to protect him a bit against Villa and see if he could make an impact. He did that. “
“I always planned to start him against City because I know what he can bring in these sorts of games. He brought it and did really well. He’s a young player, he’s got so much talent, and he needs to keep working. He can get better and better.”
Chelsea are away to Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinal this upcoming Sunday. Will #HotPulisicSummer continue?