Frank Lampard says Chelsea players must stand up and be counted
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 21/01/16 7:20pm
Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has called on some of the club's players to stand up and be counted if they are to turn around their disappointing season.
Guus Hiddink's side are currently languishing down in 14th place in the Premier League, just four points above the drop zone, having lost nine matches already this campaign.
Lampard, who left Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014, wants Chelsea's players to show bravery between now and the end of the season for them to move them away from the foot of the table.
"You do not enjoy seeing them struggle," he said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News HQ.
"We have all been there in football terms, where there are times when confidence goes down, the crowd get a little bit nervy and that is where they are at.
"And the only thing that pulls them out of that is the individual players, who need to stand up and be a bit brave and take on the challenge of trying to turn their season around."
Good players may have got a lot of nice headlines over the last couple of years, but they also now need to stand up and turn it around for the club
While Lampard, who scored a record 211 goals in all competitions for the Blues between 2001 and 2014, does not believe the champions will be relegated this season, he has also ruled out a top-four finish for his old team.
"It is going to be tough for them as I can't see them making top four, which is a must normally for Chelsea," he said. "They have got to try and make the best of a bad season and look to the future.
"Chelsea will not be relegated, I will put my house on that now. I know they are sitting around there at the moment, but I think they have more than enough to get through that.
"But as I said, this should not be a conversation that we are having. A bad year for Chelsea should be third, fourth... Champions League might be a threat.
"You get nothing for granted in the Premier League, we know that. It has levelled out even more in the last couple of years with the money that some of the so-called lesser teams have spent.
"And Chelsea need to be up there, so something needs to be put right. I think they have broken all records, from being champions to being 16th. It does not happen that way and if you look at the squad and the quality of it, it is very hard to pinpoint why so many players have underperformed."
However, Chelsea's decision to part company with former manager Jose Mourinho in December did not surprise Lampard.
"There was obviously an issue with the communication with Jose Mourinho and I think that is why the club made the decision, because it does not make sense that so many players could be below par," he said.
Lampard - who is now with MLS franchise New York City FC - has urged Chelsea's players to follow the lead of captain John Terry and other stalwarts like Branislav Ivanovic.
"As I said, it is up to the individuals now," he said. "I know when we had bad times before - and we did when I was there - it was always pulled round by JT, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Ivanovic, big names who had the bravery to say: 'Right, we are going to take this on'.
"That would be my worry now - John Terry is there and scored an equalising goal recently, and you would never doubt him and what he is going to do. Diego Costa has that kind of presence, as long as he controls himself and does not overstep the line, which we know he gets near to.
"Other than that, I want to see other players stand up. Good players may have got a lot of nice headlines over the last couple of years, but they also now need to stand up and turn it around for the club."