Frank Lampard vowed he will fight to make Chelsea successful and declared he would have become a pundit if he had wanted an “easier” life.
The head coach, who in his playing days became Chelsea’s record goalscorer, has been unable to prevent a mid-season slump that has seen the Blues slide down the Premier League table.
Four defeats in the last six games has been the sting in the tail after a long unbeaten run, yet Lampard is confident there is enough quality in his squad to turn around their season.
“I’ve been playing football since I could walk, and playing professionally for 20-odd years,” Lampard said.
“If I didn’t want that challenge, I could have sat on the telly and done an easier job. I could have been a pundit and commented on what everyone does with hindsight whenever I want, but I don’t want to do that.”
Instead, he is determined to prove he is the right man for the Stamford Bridge top job, and should he sense any player does not match his ambition, Lampard will consider if they belong at the club.
“The players here I feel have a real desire to get out of this mini run of bad results. I can see that in them,” said Lampard. “And if there are players who don’t have those concerns to get out, I think they have decisions to make.
“If there are opportunities for players to leave, it would have to be right for them, right for the club and right for myself, then that could happen. But if not, we keep fighting and moving on.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 8, 2021
Chelsea have a break from Premier League duties when they face Morecambe in the FA Cup third round on Sunday. They lost to Arsenal in the final of last season’s competition.
Lampard is set to shuffle his squad for the game with fourth-tier Morecambe, giving fringe players and possibly some academy prospects the chance to impress.
After that it will be back to the Premier League, when he expects senior players to be straining every sinew in training to earn selection.
The likes of summer signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have struggled this season, but Lampard says every player should be desperate to make an impact.
Havertz has found it difficult to make the transition from the Bundesliga to the Premier League, with just one goal, two assists and a mere 23 touches in the opposition penalty area for Chelsea after 15 games in the competition, 10 of which he started.
Last season, at Bayer Leverkusen, Havertz totted up 12 goals, six assists and had 140 touches in the opposition box across 29 league starts and one substitute appearance.
Lampard was determined not to focus on individuals and appears keen to give his recent recruits time to bed in at Chelsea. His concern is a wider one and addresses every player at the club.
He said: “I don’t ask for them to be jumping up and down when they go home about how great I am. What I’m asking for when you’re here is, to train well, back your team-mates, have a determined attitude every day, and that’s it.
“I don’t expect it to be a popularity contest with myself – I don’t think I ever felt that in a dressing room with any manager in the best of times or in tough times.
“The players have to keep fighting in tough times. The quality is in the group, without a doubt. There will be bumpy moments and we have to stick together.”