On a night when a good Chelsea win had ramifications beyond Stamford Bridge, Frank Lampard identified what his side must do to maintain a top-four finish in the short term, and then challenge for the title in years to come.
Our well-earned and exciting 2-1 victory over Manchester City not only cemented our position in the Champions League places; it crowned Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years.
Lampard was quick to congratulate them on the victory but before doing that, and analysing how his team can narrow the gap to first place, he assessed an excellent evening’s work for his players.
‘It was a big performance from us,’ said Lampard. ‘We had to work a lot off the ball, as you do against Pep Guardiola’s Man City. It was tough, but the work ethic the lads put in throughout the game, the focus, how dangerous we were - we had the better chances - we deserved to win.
‘It’s a big three points. We are in a battle here and it’s not going to be decided tonight. It’s a nice result which gives us confidence. Now the consistency we produce until the end of the season is what is going to define us this year, and get us the finish we want. There is no point in performing like that if we can’t get some momentum and sustain it. That only comes with focus and hard work.
‘There’s more belief needed in this team,’ added Lampard. ‘What Manchester City showed us is a team that has been building up and working together for years and has so much confidence on the ball. We have that ability on the ball but we need to be a bit more confident in ourselves, to play, take the ball, receive the ball, and that will come.’
Lampard had words for the new champions
‘We congratulate Liverpool. This game didn’t decide the title, that was decided a long time ago through Liverpool’s consistency and performances and wins. Fair play to them, give them full credit. They have great players and a great manager. I know the hard work that goes into trying to win a title, the competition they’ve got, we saw that with how good Manchester City were tonight. Congrats to them, they deserve it.’
The boss considered how Chelsea can challenge for the title
‘They are two of if not the best teams in the world. They are going to be there, and it’s clear to us that’s a gap we want to try and breach and move towards.
‘One result against City and a good performance is a great feeling tonight, but the reason we haven’t amassed enough points is because of consistency, which those two teams have reached. There’s a clear gap and it won’t happen overnight with one or two signings. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
‘Liverpool and City have been a work in progress for a good few years now, they’ve had a lot of success and they’re getting success now. I’m not going to get carried away. We can get better. We can be better on the ball; we can have more possession. This was one of the only games where we didn’t have the lion’s share of possession, and we have to accept that and be happy with the result.’
Focusing back on tonight, Christian Pulisic gave us the lead with a super solo strike
‘Christian came in last summer, and he didn’t really get a break. When he got in the team he was doing really well and then he got a really tough injury.
‘I wanted to protect him a bit against Villa and see if he could make an impact. He did that. I always planned to start him against City because I know what he can bring in these sorts of games. He brought it and did really well. He’s a young player, he’s got so much talent, and he needs to keep working. He can get better and better.'
Willian netted the winner soon after extending his contract for this season
‘I’m delighted with Willian. He’s been great for me this season. The players look up to him. He’s a senior professional in the group. He has quality and work ethic and it was a continuation of his form in big parts of the season.’