Chelsea finally won a game last weekend, our first in ten (10!) tries, and while that has provided a bit of relief and morale boost, any glance at the league table is likely to deflate that uplift right quick.
And now that we’re even mathematically safe from relegation, not just practically, there truly isn’t anything left to play for other than pride. Sure, constant improvement is an ideal we tend to strive for, but with just four games left, there’s little scope to actually show any improvement — though our last three games are against teams in the top-four, so we could certainly rise to the challenge, should we choose to accept it.
In any case, Nottingham Forest are coming in tomorrow, for our penultimate match at the Bridge this season, and they certainly have plenty to fight for, three points above the relegation zone with three left to play.
So Frank Lampard’s looking for his team to match that intensity.
“[The win] is a boost. It’s a nice feeling. The players have to strive for that feeling again. That’s what builds winning teams and at the moment we are obviously in some form of a building process [...] It’s nice for that general feel of confidence within the building but in terms of where we want to be it is a small step [...] It won’t be a question of trying to take us exactly where I want to be because the time isn’t there but it was a nice step.”
“We play for pride in every game, no matter what the consequences are for anybody else. It’s our consequence that we are concerned about. [...] Another game comes in the Premier League with a team fighting for their Premier League lives and we have to match that intensity and desire.”
Lampard pointed out that we were a bit more clinical last weekend, and even scored from a set piece — two things that have been rare occurrences for us this season — with plenty of room for improvement obviously.
One thing that hasn’t been a rare occurrence this season however is injuries, and we got another one for Ben Chilwell. On the plus side, Wesley Fofana’s precautionary absence seems to have paid off.
“We are hoping that Chilly may be fit possibly for the last game or two of the season but that is a tight call. It’s a similar story with Mason Mount [but] I feel that Reece might be slightly behind that.
“Wes has been training this week so he is good.”
“[Cucurella] won’t be fit for this game and again probably questionable in line with the others for that final week of the season. [Koulibaly] has trained with us the last couple of days. A little bit managed, not full training so again we are looking at the next week where we have three games in six days or whatever so all of those, hopefully in a bit of contentions but of course will they be match fit is the other question.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
No real reason to push any of them. Professional pride is one thing, being smart with injuries, especially at this point, is another. No decision should be made now that doesn’t put next season (and beyond) as the primary consideration.
Anyway, hopefully we see some quality fun tomorrow and maybe even a home win (last seen over two months ago)!