With Chelsea having not added to the squad during the January transfer window, Frank Lampard is placing great importance on the supporters maintaining the faith in the developing project they have shown so far.
A positive attitude among the staff and players is also crucial he states, and he is confident that fans will continue to back them during the quest for a top-four finish.
‘From my view, and this is not to talk ourselves down as we are six points clear in fourth, but now we probably become the underdogs and the outsiders to a certain point, because teams around us have strengthened,’ Lampard says
‘The answer is work. I have to be the first person to remain positive, no matter what, and I have to be truthful when I speak out loud because Chelsea fans are listening and they want to best.
‘We know recruitment is huge for a team that wants to be successful. Look no further than Liverpool or Manchester City in recent years. People will get bored if I keep crying about that, the players have to work.
‘At the start of the season, among a lot of fans and a lot of pundits and commentators from outside, nobody had us in their top four and people were saying if you are in the top eight or top 10 we understand. Obviously not fighting relegation but now probably because we got ahead of the curve, expectation was that if we are to hang on to fourth, a particular result is not good.
‘I get that, expectations change, but the reality is now that we are in fourth but it is going to be a really big fight. Now we have to be up for that challenge, young or more experienced players, but the first person who is up for that challenge is me.’
Lampard confirms that as far as he is concerned, no business in the transfer window is better than bad business during it, and he wants to work towards his long-term plan rather than make a knee-jerk signing. He returns to the subject of the fans’ support.
‘When we lost against Liverpool, I have never seen a reaction to a home loss like that because the fans were saying we get it, we are young, there is a transitional feel about it, and we need that trust even more than ever for the next four months.
‘As we have seen in recent games there are times when all elements aren’t coming off for us, finishing being the main one, and with young players, as much as I want to drive them and be strong with them at times, we have to accept that sometimes with players who are very young and were in the Championship last season or playing youth football or whatever, coming into the first team there are times that are tough for them. I know the fans will give us that trust and we will certainly need it to keep pushing this season.
‘A lot of the Chelsea fans I meet in London saw us when we lacked a stand or cars were parked at the back of the stadium or we were dropping down the divisions, and now they can’t believe it so they are very realistic.
‘So if there is effort and drive from myself and from the players I think they will accept pretty much everything. So after the talk and this window has gone, that is all we can concern ourselves with, and being positive.’