Top four, not title race, the priority for Lampard at Chelsea
Issued on: Modified:
London (AFP) –
Frank Lampard believes Chelsea's priority is to get back into the Premier League top four after a barren run rather than targeting the title.
However, the former England midfielder is hopeful the Blues fortunes can change for the better as quickly as they have deteriorated over the past month.
Chelsea eased back up to seventh thanks to just their second win in seven league games at 10-man Fulham on Saturday.
However, they briefly topped the table in early December on the back of a 17-game unbeaten run.
In a season when every side has had their struggles adapting to empty stadiums and a congested fixture list, just five points separate the top six.
And victory at third-placed Leicester on Tuesday could haul Lampard's men back to within five points of the top.
"There is no reason to say whether we will get back into it (the title race) or not at the moment," said Lampard at his eve of match press conference.
"We just need to consider the games in front of us and try to win them, to push ourselves steadily up the table.
"We are not in a bad position, we have had a bad short period of form and if we can put wins together this month then the picture will change very quickly -- as it has done already this year in so many ways."
Lampard -- whose position has been the source of speculation due to the poor run -- says a good barometer of their ability to restore momentum will be how they fare against the Foxes, who can go top with victory.
"Leicester are in the race for sure, the way they are playing and the results they're getting and their position in the league," said Lampard.
"We managed to get above Leicester at the back-end of last season, but it was a big ask for us.
"They are a very good team, with very good individuals, we know that, and a really good manager in Brendan Rodgers."
Part of the reason for Chelsea's recent disappointing run has been the poor form of Timo Werner.
The German international has scored just once in the last 14 games in all competitions -- against fourth-tier Morecambe in the FA Cup -- which is a poor return for the £52 million ($70 million) Chelsea paid for him.
"It's something that all players experience in their careers," said Lampard, who dropped Werner to the bench against Fulham.
"When you are a top player, as Timo has shown he is, is when all eyes are on and it becomes magnified.
"But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that and work with him on it."
© 2021 AFP