Despite the stinging defeat against West Ham on Wednesday night, Chelsea are still well in control of our top-four destiny. Manchester United in fifth and Wolverhampton Wanderers in sixth are still two points behind, while the Blues are only one point behind Leicester City in third.
A win against Watford is yet another must-win then. A loss could see Chelsea end the weekend all the way down in sixth, depending on other results. Watford, like West Ham and Aston Villa, are knee-deep in a relegation battle and will not make it easy for us.
“[Watford's poor form] doesn’t really matter to us. They are a dangerous team. With Nigel Pearson they have shown a real desire to get out of trouble. He came in at a real tough time and there is a spirit in them.
“I won’t pay attention much to recent results. Restarts have been difficult for different clubs in different ways. We must take the game on its merits. Know that they have a very good side, that they are desperate for points. We came unstuck against a team in a similar situation a few days ago, so we should be fully aware of the dangers of the game.”
The manner in which Chelsea conceded three goals against West Ham really threw the spotlight on Chelsea's weakest positions. The entire back four and the goalkeeper were responsible for a number of blunders that are unacceptable at the level we want to compete at.
Lampard, like any good man-manager, deflected (public) blame from individuals when questioned about our defensive troubles, stressing the need for collective improvement.
"They have a responsibility to do both (attack and defend). That’s important. It is not easy, you have isolated (Alonso) with, as you say had slatings, with a comment from afar. We do try and play football, we are trying to play progressive. Of course, we do that with the idea of not wanting to concede goals and recovery runs are a huge part of football and the players must do them whether it is the first minute or 90th minute.
"So I don’t think it is maybe quite fair to look at Marcos in that isolated incident. Maybe, yes, he can recover or we can recover better as a team. That has to be something that has to be a fundamental of the team. You have to run backwards as much as you run fast forwards. You have to have that desire to make difficult runs, sometimes they are sideways runs or whatever it is to help the team.
"I can’t complain with the team with that this year, as you say, it is one goal and it is crucial because it wins the points, fair enough. I know with my players that, generally, we have the desire to press off the ball and, generally, to recover and get there. It was a game, generally, where we slipped up. Not just that mistake but other mistakes and we lost for it."
The need of the hour is to focus on what's coming up next while learning important lessons from previous results.
Six “finals” are to be played and none of them can be taken for granted. Lampard has urged the team to get the mentality right for the season-defining fixtures that are to come, starting on Saturday night.
“Yes, I’m confident. It’s going to be tough, West Ham result or no West Ham result. Every game now is going to be a tough one. if we go into it with the right attitude that we approach games like Aston Villa and Manchester City, and Everton and Liverpool before the break, then I have real belief in us.
"It’s about getting our mentality right, keeping freshness in the players between games and having a real desire to achieve what we want. It’s pretty clear now what we want: we want to finish in the Champions League spots, we’ve got the FA Cup coming up, so there’s no time to drop those levels.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
No room for error.