Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has said that the Blues need to stay focused ahead of a congested period of fixtures in the Premier League. The west London giants are currently holding onto the fourth position in the standings but they don’t have much breathing space with Tottenham Hotspur just three points behind them.
This has resulted from the fact that they have picked up just three points from the previous league games and Azpilicueta wants his team to be prepared ahead of the festive schedule leading to the New Year, he told: “We have to keep our heads up. The Christmas period is always a busy time and we have some important fixtures coming up, which we have to be ready for. We have to make sure we are ready, because there is a big game coming up, a derby against Tottenham next Sunday. Now is the time to think, to see what we didn’t do well and go with everything on Sunday because we need the points.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said that he is pleased with the club’s progress this season but he wants the team to perform much better during the forthcoming games. The west London side recently suffered a blip with two successive defeats in the Premier League but they managed to end the streak with a 2-1 triumph over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Following the game, Lampard was asked whether he was pleased with the club’s strong push for the top four and in response, he stated that the Blues have room for improvement, he told: “I am happy but I want more. We have had a pretty good start because most people probably expected us otherwise.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has fancied Chelsea to secure a top four finish in the Premier League this season. The west London giants have experienced a mixed run of results since the beginning of the campaign but Merson believes the Blues can qualify for the Champions League after a strong display against Liverpool, where they suffered a slender 2-1 defeat.
“I think expectations have gone up now. After that performance, you’re looking at top four. When you see what’s around, you’re looking at top four. With losing the game, it’s backfired in a way – the expectations have gone up rather than down. I’ve seen enough yesterday to say they’ll be in the mix,” he was quoted as saying on Sky Sports.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has said that he has been impressed with the chants from the supporters for Jorginho this term. The Italy international was not a favourite among the fans last season and he was deemed guilty whenever the Blues underperformed with former head coach Maurizio Sarri at the helm.
The west London giants have made a slow start to the current season with just one win from four matches but the supporters have certainly been more appreciative towards Jorginho, who has looked much comfortable with his distribution compared to the previous campaign. Speaking in a press conference, Lampard admitted that he is pleased with the reception received by the midfielder this term and believes the Italian has come up with a better drive and determination when compared to the previous campaign.
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has praised the character of manager Frank Lampard, who has yet to taste success as the Blues head coach. The west London giants have started the season with successive losses to Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League and UEFA Super Cup respectively but they were somewhat unfortunate to come up with nothing in the latter of those games.
Speaking to Chelseafc.com, Giroud spoke about the mentality of the new manager and said that the 41-year-old’s response remains neutral irrespective of the performance from the players, he told: “He always tries to be very positive. He won’t be too tough with us when we are not doing too well, but he also won’t put us ‘over the moon’ when we are playing well. He is always trying to analyse well the situation.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes
Mason Mount is ready to make the first-team after a strong showing against
Barcelona in pre-season. The England youth international started in the number
10 position against the Blaugrana and he managed to produce a commendable
performance without finding the net.
Speaking after the 2-1 friendly triumph,
Lampard said that Mount has announced himself into the first-team squad with
the display against the Spanish champions. He added that the Japan tour has
served the purpose of enhancing the fitness of the players and they need to
keep working hard before the season opener against Manchester United next
He said: “Mason’s had a great trip and he’s
announced himself into the first team squad.We’ve had two difficult games in
humidity. The tour has served its purpose. We need to be fit and ready for
Manchester United, and the clock runs down pretty quickly at this stage. Now we
just have to keep working. It’s been a good tour and it’s always good to come
to Japan. Most importantly it is work and both games have been good exercises
Mount, who penned a long-term deal with the Blues this month, has been a regular member of Lampard’s team for pre-season and he has started three of the club’s four matches. There had previously been doubts whether he could make the breakthrough with the Blues during the forthcoming campaign, but any uncertainty may have been erased with him being able to orchestrate the play with relative ease.
Still, the youngster cannot take his position for granted with the number of senior players in the club’s ranks and the remaining pre-season matches could decide whether he can command a starting role when the Premier League season begins. Chelsea face United on the road in the curtain raiser.
Chelsea winger Willian has hailed the
extraordinary qualities of Frank Lampard and said that he will be very welcome
to take over as the Blues next head coach. The west London side are without a
manager after the departure of Maurizio Sarri but they have been fancied to
seal the appointment of Lampard from Derby County.
Speaking to Football.London, Willian was
full of praise for the former Blues star and said that he would have the full
backing of the club, should he take over the managerial reigns, he quipped: “He
is a legend. He was an extraordinary player for the club, winning every
possible title. He deserves so much respect and backing for what he has already
achieved at the club. If Chelsea do bring him in, he will be very welcome. Is
he definitely going to be the next manager? I don’t know. But I think he would
be up to the task. He was a great player, and he is a great person. He’s only
starting his managerial career now, but he has everything it takes to be a
The Blues are currently under a transfer ban for the next 12 months and that means that they cannot register any players during the summer transfer window. Despite this, widespread report indicate that Lampard has given the green light for the project, considering the club are prepared to give him with the added time to cope with the embargo.
No official confirmation has been made
regarding the appointment but the same only remains a formality with the Blues
sorting out the compensation package with Derby. The Blues may not be able to
pursue new players but they have begun the work of extending the contracts of
players at the club. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has recently agreed on a bumper
five-year deal and reports suggest that he could be presented alongside
Derby County chairman Mel Morris has said
that the Rams are keen on keeping hold of manager Frank Lampard amid the
speculated interest from former side Chelsea. The Blues recently witnessed the
departure of Maurizio Sarri to Juventus and reports have since associated
Lampard with an emotional comeback to Stamford Bridge in a coaching capacity.
Speaking to Goal.com, Morris said that the
Blues may be without a head coach at the current point of time but there has
been no contact whatsoever from the side with regards to Lampard. He added that
the club are determined to keep the 40-year-old for the long-term and have
stated their ambition to the former England international.
He said: “There is no change except that Chelsea no longer have a manager. We’ve made it clear to everyone but most importantly to Frank, that we want to retain him for the long term. If Chelsea want to hire him, then it is in their gift to make an offer in pursuit of that. In the meantime, we’ll continue to put our best foot forward to continue with our plans for the coming season and work with Frank, (and) for him to know how much he’s wanted by everyone associated with the club.”
The Blues are currently not permitted to
make any signings for the next two transfer windows as they are serving a
transfer ban. Owing to this, there are likely to rely on the academy and
reserve players to enhance the squad performance next term and Lampard may find
success, considering he got the best out of some of the young players at Pride
Park. Chelsea have already placed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for
Sport for the embargo and they are now awaiting a potential date for the
hearing before deciding whether to apply for a freeze.
USA international Christian Pulisic has
said that he is focusing on himself as he embarks on a fresh challenge with
Chelsea next season. The young attacker joined the Blues on a permanent basis
from Borussia Dortmund last winter and he was therefore loaned out to the
Bundesliga side for the remainder of the season.
During this period, there has been increasing speculation regarding the future of Eden Hazard, who has been the Blues’ star performer but Pulisic has indicated that he is not looking to replicate the Belgium international at the Bridge, he said: “Eden’s a fantastic player, we all know that. If I can get anywhere close to him, I’ll be more than happy. But I’m coming in to be my own player. I expect a lot from myself, for me that’s enough. Obviously there’s pressure from outside – that’s to be expected. I want to be successful, be part of this team and make an impact. They are my goals and to become the best player I can be.”
Hazard has just 13 months remaining on his
current contract with the Blues and reports indicate that he has a good chance
of joining Real Madrid this summer irrespective of the club’s ongoing transfer
ban. As such, Pulisic could be the player to take up the mantle from the
Belgian footballer and it remains to be seen whether he can make an instant
impression with the Blues.
Pulisic is currently in London to finalise the
necessary introductory formalities with the Blues and he is thereafter expected
to join the United States team for the Gold Cup. Chelsea, on the other hand,
can end the season on a high, should they overcome Arsenal to the Europa League
crown. The west London side have already sealed Champions League football for
next season after securing the third spot in the Premier League.
Chelsea defender David Luiz has said that
he has been impressed with Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy during the course of the
current campaign. The Blues have endured a mixed season by their standards in
the Premier League but they are still on course to make the top four, provided
they win their remaining two games of the season.
Speaking to Metro, Luiz said that he has
been amazed with the tactical nous of Sarri, who has opted to play more possession
of the ball. He added that some of the Blues players are still adapting to the
new brand of football and it may take a bit longer before the club are
completing in sync with the manager’s demands.
He said: “It’s a philosophy to have a lot
of possession, create a lot of opportunities and he has tried to introduce that
to us. I think he has already done amazing as in the past people were saying Chelsea
don’t control the game, Chelsea don’t play with a lot of the ball, Chelsea just
plays counter-attacks’ everyone was criticising Chelsea. Now we control the
games and sometimes they criticise us because we don’t win the game with a lot
of possession. I think his philosophy is amazing, it’s trying to play football.
This takes time and we are trying to improve as soon as possible.”
Chelsea have been in-and-out of the Champions League places over the course of the season but they are currently placed fourth on the table. Nonetheless, they are just two points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal and they need to secure victories during their final two matches against Watford and Leicester City to ensure qualification to the Champions League next term.
The west London giants can attain the same
by winning the Europa League title, but that remains far off at the moment,
considering they first need to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt at the last four of
the competition. If they are successful, they could face either Valencia or
Arsenal during the final in Baku.