Ahead of today’s game against Manchester City, Frank Lampard has underlined the importance of securing a first victory of the season against one of the teams expected to be challenging for the Premier League title.
The Blues go into the game unbeaten in seven, and full of confidence following our 3-0 Champions League win against Schalke in midweek, our fourth consecutive victory.
Having already drawn with both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur this season, though, securing three points against Manuel Pellegrini’s side would send out a real statement of intent, as Lampard explained.
‘It would be nice, you want to get good results in the big ones, you want to get good results week in, week out and I think we’ve done that,’ he said. ‘We’ve kept ourselves up there even though I don’t think we’ve been flowing, we’ve got good results.
‘I can see us improving and if we work hard we will do, starting with Man City, it’s a big game for both clubs.’
The Blues midfielder, who, apart from the Capital One Cup win at Swindon Town, has featured in every game this campaign, saw today’s opponents as the biggest threat going into the season and, having watched them win away for the first time last weekend, believes they are beginning to produce the type of football expected of a squad with such talent.
‘I didn’t count out Man United and I still wouldn’t,’ added Lampard. ‘I’ve been impressed with Arsenal’s start, like everybody, but Man City will be up there without a doubt.
‘It will be very tough; I watched their game against West Ham and they played very well. Whether they have a good or bad away record, you’re talking about a Man City side that has fantastic individuals and a great team, so I’m sure they’ll see it as a chance to carry on from the West Ham performance. With the players they’ve got we know we’re in for a difficult game, but we’ve also got belief in our own players.’
In recent seasons, Lampard, a driving force from midfield over the years, has adjusted his game slightly. Understandably, he still likes to get forward as often as possible, but with the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar now given the task of supporting the striker, the 35-year-old more often than not occupies a deeper role.
Having endured a difficult pre-season due to an injury sustained on our tour of Asia, however, he is pleased with the way in which the campaign has started, both on an individual and collective level.
‘I missed pre-season which frustrated me; I’ve never really missed it before and it’s always been a base for me, so I feel like at times I’m trying to make up for that, but if you’re playing regular games it helps you stay fit,’ explained our all-time highest goalscorer.
‘The manager’s always said about trusting him and him trusting me. I’ve got complete faith in him, I haven’t started every game and I completely respect that, but it’s nothing new to what I’ve had in the last couple of seasons anyway. When you have trust in your manager, I just want to contribute when I play.
‘Jose Mourinho has been great for me in my career and to be working under him again, and with the emerging talent here, is a pleasure. I think we’ve settled, probably since the second half at Tottenham when we lifted our game, and we’ve had some good results.
‘It’s easy to talk about having a great team spirit but it’s something you have to work on every week, you can’t rest or lull because in the Premier League now, if you switch off and lose two games you can lose ground.’