Frank Lampard urges his Chelsea players to take personal responsibility
Frank Lampard has urged his players to place greater value in hard work on and off the pitch following their 1-0 defeat against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.
Chelsea lined up to give City a guard of honour before kick-off after Pep Guardiola’s side were awarded the title the evening before as top-table rivals Arsenal capitulated at Nottingham Forest.
Ahead of the tie, Lampard had said that he hoped that the gesture would instill ambition in his side, who will finish the season in the bottom-half of the table for the first time in 27 years.
‘The only inspiration should be what it’s taken City to get where they are,’ Lampard said when confirming his decision. ‘The trophy lift is something to be respectful of. Understanding why they are lifting it is another.’
But after the defeat on the road – their fourth at the hands of Man City after an inopportune draw in both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup – Lampard was keen to stress that there can be no half measures if Chelsea wish to emulate their title-winning opponents.
‘I don’t think they should have to do a guard of honour to understand,’ the caretaker boss began.
‘Manchester City have not won three [Premier League titles] in a row through half intensity. They have had to work and work and work. The players have to understand that.
‘They have to take personal responsibility and say: “I want to be [Erling] Haaland or [Kevin] De Bruyne, I have to put in the work they have.”
‘It is something they have to strive towards. It is in their hands. I can’t say that how long it will take.
‘It is down to the players and the direction of the club. This Premier League is getting tougher.’
As a player, Lampard won the Premier League twice with the Blues, but as a manager, his second spell at Stamford Bridge has been checkered.
After being appointed interim boss in April after the dismissal of Graham Potter, and latterly, his assistant Bruno Saltor, Lampard lost his first six matches in charge in the worst start for a manager in the club’s history.
The run was halted by a 3-1 victory against Bournemouth, but Chelsea have only claimed four points since early April and currently sit 12th in the table.
The Blues legend is only contracted to lead the west London club until the end of the season before his likely successor, Mauricio Pochettino, is appointed with a view to overhauling the squad after a dismal season.
Condemned to a bottom-half finish, Chelsea may yet overleap Crystal Palace who sit just a point above them in 11th, should they beat Manchester United and Newcastle in their final two matches of the season, as they have a game in hand over their London rivals.