Lampard urges Chelsea to tighten up
Frank Lampard has delivered a withering assessment of Chelsea's failings this season, warning they can forget about Champions League football unless they give everything in their remaining games. Midfielder Lampard refused to pull his punches in his appraisal of the Blues and admitted they let their standards drop after their historic comeback against Napoli two weeks ago.
Frank Lampard. PIC/Getty Images
That win saw Chelsea set up a clash with Benfica, who they will face tonight in the first leg of their last-eight tie. Since beating Napoli, they have reached the FA Cup semi-finals but have taken just one point from two Premier League games to slip five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Lampard told Chelsea TV: "The fixtures and where we are in the table doesn't lie -- we're not as good as we used to be.
"We used to have a fortress here and, for whatever reason, we're just not doing it. It's something we must all put right. You know a derby against a very good Tottenham side is going to be tough. But I don't think we were at it enough. We had to play more with the urgency we showed against Napoli. Against Tottenham, we didn't really do enough to lift the fans. We had the high of Napoli, then we got beaten by Manchester City and now we need to up it again."
Chelsea have finished in the top four for nine successive seasons. Lampard said: "Chelsea should be in the top four. No disrespect to the other top-five clubs but, with the ability we have, we should be in there. "It is far from over. There is no point being downbeat about it at the minute. "It's five points and the gap has been bigger than that. It's up to us now to get ourselves right for Benfica and the league games coming up."