DUO RELISHING HEALTHY COMPETITION

Posted on: Tue 20 Aug 2013

Frank Lampard believes every member of the Chelsea squad is under pressure to perform given the level of quality at Jose Mourinho's disposal.

The 35-year-old, who played the full 90 minutes against Hull City on Sunday, was an integral member of the manager's team during his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, which saw the Blues win back-to-back Premier League titles.

Lampard made his mark against Steve Bruce's side by scoring the second goal in our 2-0 win, and after seeing the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel come off the bench, the midfielder feels he, and the rest of the group, need to maintain a high standard of performance in order to feature regularly.

'We had a lot of young players and players that want to do well [on the bench],' he said. 'They have to contribute, myself included. If you're not playing in certain games you have to be ready to come on and be able to contribute.

'Any squad that wants to win things these days has to have a strong squad, and when you look at our bench, and beyond that, that's what we have.'

Lampard, who will hope to retain his place in the side when we welcome Aston Villa to west London tomorrow, went on to explain the impact Mourinho's return has had on the squad.

'With the manager now he's very demanding, on the training ground and on the pitch, and I'm very aware of how he is,' said the club's all-time highest scorer.

'If there is a bit of a spring in my step, and the team's step, it's like having a new teacher at school; you want to impress, and that can only be a good thing if we have a group of players who want to impress and earn their place in the team, which is what we've had in pre-season.'

Kevin De Bruyne, meanwhile, who impressed during his Chelsea debut at the weekend, is confident the side will only get better over the coming weeks.

The young Belgian, who set up Oscar's opening goal, was an influential figure during the opening 45 minutes before being withdrawn after the break.

Playing alongside Oscar and Eden Hazard as one of the supporting attacking trio behind Fernando Torres, De Bruyne was handed a central role, and with six players fighting for three positions, he is relishing the challenge.

'The manager has confidence in the group,' he said. 'We have a squad of 24 or 25 players and he believes everybody can start. There are a lot of good players playing at a high level. As a team, we will grow and get better and better.

'It's always nice when the manager has confidence in you; I never have any stress before a match. Football, for me, is still a game, there's a lot of pressure but that doesn't matter.

'You just have to try your best; sometimes you play good and sometimes you are a bit nervous, but that's football.

'We know we have six good players for that position so we have to prove ourselves on the field. The manager will probably rotate so we will see what happens. I've started well and team rotation is normal when you play so many games.

'If you play for a club like Chelsea you have more players at a high level, you have to fight for your spot which is good for the team.'