The 5-3 defeat at Anfield means the quest for Champions League qualification continues into the weekend but despite the latest result, there were aspects of the game against Liverpool that further encouraged Frank Lampard there can be genuine achievement at the end of this league season.
It goes down to the final match against Wolves when either a point gained there or elsewhere Manchester United beating Leicester away will be enough for a top-four finish. Above all, the situation the Chelsea players find themselves in should be one to be welcomed according to the boss.
‘They have to embrace that and take it on,’ he said before departing Liverpool for the return journey to London.
‘We have a mixture of youth and hopefully that youthfulness can sometimes help but we also have players who have been in situations like this before. It comes with the territory of playing for a top club. Also, we should have a feeling of achievement to this point because at the start of the season not many people expected us to be in the top-four race but we now have it in our own hands.
‘We are at the Bridge, we have a really strong opponent in Wolves, but it is up to us. I have belief in the players. I have seen a lot in the last two games, particularly with Manchester United and then with Liverpool, of what we are about. There has been spirit and character in those two performances and we have to carry it on for one more game in the league.
‘Since restart there was a feeling it could go this far,’ he added. ‘I felt we maybe could get over the line tonight before the game because we played so well against Manchester United.
‘We contributed to this game well and on another night, at 4-3, we go on to get our point but now there will be a lot going on on Sunday. What is absolutely important is the players focus on themselves because it is in our own hands, and that is the job I’ll do because we can’t affect what is going on elsewhere. We have to try to get over the line. We have character in the group, we have quality and we have a good opponent coming and it is on us now.’
More specifically on the Liverpool game, Lampard was asked post-match about the manner in which goals were conceded.
‘I would not talk about individuals in a game where we have conceded those goals. Some were real quality Liverpool finishes, particularly the free-kick. There were some collective and individual errors for the goals. What we did do was contribute to a really good game.
‘At 4-3 it felt like we may get back in the game. I felt it throughout. We know where we are at. We know if we make mistakes like that against a team of the quality of Liverpool then this is what can happen but there were a lot of good things in the game so I certainly don’t want to get into individual conversations about players because we have two big domestic games to play and it is important we go in together, as players, fans, everybody trying to finish the season how we want.
‘I don’t want to dwell on how many goals we have conceded, I want to concentrate on where we are at. We have a game to go and we want to win that game to get in the top four. Do we want to improve in terms of how we defend? Of course we want to improve. That is part of the process but now let’s be very positive about the game that is in front of us.’