Just two games remain in the Premier League as third place Chelsea face champions Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday night. While Liverpool do not have anything to play for, Chelsea do have a Champions League spot on the line, which may well go down to the final fixture against Wolves.
Liverpool may not have the same motivation as they had when they started the season, they have enough firepower to dent our hopes for a Champions League spot. This is simply a must-not-lose game for Chelsea!
Lampard delivered the unwelcome injury news of Kante once again being ruled out. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if he plays at all again this season.
"N’Golo is not fit. He’s not ready for this game."
Agonising defeats against Sheffield United and West Ham aside, Chelsea are in a fine run of form in terms of results, winning 8 out of the past 10 Premier League games.
Such form usually proves to be a catalyst for top four qualification, which is what Chelsea had set out to achieve at the start of this “transitional” season. Lampard would certainly be delighted to complete that objective. especially given the circumstances under which he took the Chelsea job.
"We have to say it was the number one goal at the start of the season because it’s the competition that’s right in front of you at the start and the competition that you have to produce the most consistency in, which generally means the top teams come to the top.
"It’s a gauge of where you are as a club and it’s about the prestige of wanting to stay in the Champions League. We’ve done it a lot over the last 10 or 15 years at Chelsea. This year was probably the most testing time to try and be in there so if we do, I’ll be happy.
"Does it mean we’ll be challenging for the league next year? No. It just means we’ve made a really good step this year, if we get there, and then we have to work out how we bridge that gap because it still remains a lot of points."
This summer is set to be very exciting as well, with Chelsea being strongly linked to top talents like Kai Havertz, having already completed the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. The funds piled up from sales as well as the transfer ban helps!
Lampard's pitch to our transfer targets about his project and the vision of the club has proven a big draw for players willing to sign for Chelsea.
"If I work for this club, I want to get the best out of the group that I have and if we’re looking at bringing in players and there’s a chance to speak to them, you just want to speak about the vision and what you want for the club.
"When I get the opportunity to do that, I’ll hopefully do it with a lot of passion and feeling and an idea of what I want. I remember being a player and having certain conversations like that with different managers or people in football and it’s an important thing.
"As a player you want to join something that’s going somewhere and that’s the only way I will speak to players either that I get the opportunity to speak to or my own players. We all have to feel that the vision and the idea of playing for Chelsea is a really positive one and my job sometimes is to say that."
With new talent coming in, the pressure’s on current players to perform and keep performing. One from whom much was expected by not much has come yet is Callum Hudson-Odoi, who’s found game time hard to come by this season, but especially since the restart. Christian Pulisic and Willian have been trusted by Lampard to start games and their good form has only limited Hudson-Odoi’s minutes even more.
Lampard’s seeing good signs in training however that the youngster’s turning a corner — he certainly looked willing on Sunday, even if the penalty given away was a wee bit stupid.
"I’ve spoken about Callum a lot and he needs to keep training at the highest level, which is what I’ve seen him doing particularly in the last week or 10 days. In the two games he’s come on, he’s had good impacts and that’s the way he needs to continue.
"He’s a young player with great talent and potential and I want to see that potential come through."
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Given the importance of the next two games, we will require the best efforts of all the players to take us over the finish line.