Just five games remain in the Premier League and, unsurprisingly, there are cut-throat battles at either end of the table, for a top four finish and relegation survival. Chelsea are fortunately involved in the former, and more importantly are also in control of our own destiny.
Having said that, one poor result can be enough for said destiny to leave our hands, especially with Manchester United breathing down our necks and looking in great form.
To avoid such an outcome, the team must maintain utmost concentration and focus, which can be a bit more difficult than usual, given that there are no fans in the stands to create and atmosphere and provide pressure and motivation. It’s up to each individual player to find the proper motivation at the end of the day, regardless of how much Lampard might prod and yell and encourage.
"Football has never been more on TV than it is now. I expect them to buy into that and want to see what results are happening around us. On a sporting level that means you care. And then there has to be a slight switch-up and a focus on yourselves. We can’t control all the other games; we can certainly control what we can do. It can fire you up seeing what else is happening.
"The position we’re in means a lot is in our own hands, and that’s the main thing. When we train and when we prepare and when we play, the main thing is we focus on how we absolutely put out the best performance.
"Manchester United are closest, they’re a very strong team, they’re in great form for a long period of time. They have got really good individual players. You have seen the momentum they have gained across their front three, all scoring, lots of goals. They’re the biggest threat from behind, but this is the Premier League. It looks that way today, but it’s how each team finishes the season."
With N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić ruled out due to (minor) injuries, opportunities for others to play should open up in the midfield this week. And that could be good news for Jorginho, who’s yet to feature since the restart.
Given his importance to the team before the lockdown, Jorginho’s absence has been surprising and curious, and even with the two injuries, Lampard isn’t guaranteeing a start for the 28-year-old Vice-captain. Even more curious!
"He’s been very professional about it. He wants to play as every player does. One of the hardest parts of the job is telling a player they’re not playing, particularly when they train well, and Jorginho always trains well.
"He has handled it professionally, and that’s what I would expect. It’s important players over the course of a long season, in a competitive squad like we have, are there to support other players when they’re playing and they’re out. We’ll see with my selection tomorrow whether he plays."
At the other end of the scale, we have Christian Pulisic, who has been far and away Chelsea's best player of Project Restart after being unable to feature for the team due to injuries since January.
His dribbling style, tendency to win fouls, and ability to affect the course of the game with a moment of magic in general may not always reflect on the stats sheet but it was bound to draw comparisons with Eden Hazard, who left last summer for Real Madrid after seven legendary season at Stamford Bridge.
Unlike others, Lampard didn’t immediately dismiss the comparison, using it instead to highlight the differences in the two players’ games and to set a target for Pulisic’s future greatness.
“Eden had a special talent straightaway of being able to receive the ball, show great balance and go past players. He would draw a lot of players towards him to open up space for others. He was pretty unselfish with making assists that way.
“Christian is possibly more direct in his style sometimes, in terms of how he goes past players and runs off the ball, which I like. He has a real ability to break a line and run forward. That’s a great trait in the modern game.
“Eden has been here and done it, and did it to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over a period of time. The thing I’m so happy with now is when we’re finding it hard to break teams down, he is taking responsibility to change that. It’s been great to see.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Here's to some more magic on Tuesday night to solidify Chelsea's top four position!