Chelsea: Frank Lampard feels no extra financial pressure to qualify for Champions League
Last Updated: 22/02/20 3:14pm
Frank Lampard says he feels no extra financial pressure to ensure Chelsea qualify for the Champions League and played down the prospect of his best players leaving if they fail to do so.
Chelsea recorded a £96.6m loss for the year ending June 30 as the Blues released their latest financial results in January with the club citing a lack of Champions League football over the period as one factor in the loss.
The Blues have seen Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard leave the club in recent summer transfer windows but Lampard does not fear losing the likes of N'Golo Kante should his side fail to secure a top-four berth and says they want to add top names to the squad.
"That's not a question for me in terms of the money, the question for me is a football question - do you want to be in the Champions League? It's yes," he said.
"I'm not silly, I know those numbers and I have seen those figures and I know Chelsea in recent years have had years in the Champions League, a year out of all European competition when they won the league, a year in the Europa league so it has happened and this club is still here and trying to move forward.
"I solely think of it as a footballing matter in terms of wanting to get to the Champions League and, of course, if that happens, if sustaining that will help on that financial level, yeah."
He added: "We obviously want to keep our top players, Kante is an incredible player and everyone knows that. That would be case by case, individual by individual. At the end of the day, no matter the quality of the player, you want players that want to be here at Chelsea and want to push and push and close the gap upwards that we have at the moment.
"That's a question for the summer and something I certainly shouldn't be dwelling on now. We want to keep our top players and in fact want to be adding to that to try and improve as all top clubs do."
Rising expectations after a promising start
Chelsea started the season in the midst of a FIFA transfer ban, which played a part in Lampard looking to the club's younger players to step up ahead of his first campaign back in charge at Stamford Bridge.
His side sit fourth after an encouraging start but just one win from their last five home Premier League matches has seen their advantage over this weekend's opponents Tottenham shrink to just one point in the race for the Champions League and Lampard believes expectations on his young side may have risen after their start to the campaign.
"Maybe they did [expectations rose] and that's a good thing and normal and it's human nature. We were all happy when we were winning seven on the bounce and went into the international break in and around Manchester City but since then we haven't kept the consistency of results from that but I think the understanding is still there," he said.
"We want to be a club that pushes on but you have to understand that the players are absolutely giving everything. Manchester United was a 90-minute showing of our home form this season. Some really good bits, when we don't take our chances, which we create a few of, enough and we are not clinical with it then games become tough. That's something for me and us to overcome without a doubt and the fans have been absolutely with us and we need them.
"People respect us when they come to the Bridge. They know that we can cause them problems and a lot of teams have come here, the games that we have lost, it has felt like lost points are when teams have defended, we've had a lot of the ball, we haven't been clinical in our moments to score goals which can sometimes generate a bit of nervousness and we have conceded at bad times and that is just the brutal reality of it.
"I don't think it is inexperience, I don't. You can look at the youth in the squad and maybe that is an easy conclusion, maybe it is part of it. It is always hard to absolutely pinpoint things but sometimes the clinical nature of not scoring, the sloppy nature of having a moment's lapse which can give a team which has one or two shots at goal a goal in a game which has happened a couple of times at home. It can be experience, can it be focus, quality, the quality level of the finish - I think there are a lot of things to it."
The "making" of Chelsea's young players
Mason Mount has not been able recently to quite reach the heights of his impressive early-season displays but Lampard says he trusts him to work his way through a slight downturn in form and has backed all of his young players to use this difficult spell in the Premier League as the "making" of them.
"There is competition in that area as well so it is not an easy selection for me, week to week," Lampard said. "I know Mason well from working with him and I know he is tough on himself. Probably since the Tottenham game he will want to have more output in terms of goals and assists because that is what he is very capable of.
"He is fine, he is very aware of that, I have very honest conversations with Mason and I know he wants the best for himself and I see it out there every day. Even if those goals and assists aren't quite coming he will fight his way through that, no problem."
He added: "This period is what all clubs suffer in the Premier League, generally. Individually you suffer periods of form and as a young player you have to understand even more and be more sensitive to the fact that it can affect confidence because they have just been thrust into the team this year and it is new and the eyes of the world are on them. That's a big deal.
"It is a test for the younger players and I think with the physical nature of the league and over the course of the season it probably was always going to come that individuals would have little dips and how they come out of it will certainly be the making of them. It's always the same it is how they train and work and the focus they have that will bring them through.
"I believe in all of them. Whether they are in dips or not, I think they are all going to be top players for this club but they have to keep pushing and they have to be strong in moments like this."