Frank Lampard says the core of the team which helped Chelsea win silverware in recent years remains crucial to the club’s chances of success.
Lampard popped up late on Monday against Wolves to score the winning goal and after the match he reminded his manager of his desire to get a regular 90 minutes, saying he is at his best when he is a mainstay in the team.
“The boss is the boss. He picks the team,” he told reporters.
“I’m very committed to this club. I’ll always stay completely behind the cause of Chelsea because that’s me now. Chelsea’s my club.”
“The thing for me is that it’s much easier for me, when I’m starting games and playing regular matches and 90 minutes, to get into the rhythm I’ve found since I’ve been here.”
“That’s what I love doing and, personally, I think that’s when I’m at my best.”
“I don’t know if you’d say that Wolves was a case of some of the older heads taking charge. In terms of the game, I hope I did.”
“But we need those big players, like John Terry. The spine of the team is what’s made us what we are over the past seven years. I think that’s important, whether (or not) we’re changing the team.”
“Of course, I understand that things change with time. But what we’re about is that spine, to an extent. So it’s nice to see big players who’ve been there a long time producing the goods.”
The win at Wolves moved Chelsea back into fourth place above Arsenal in the Premier League but they are still 11 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Having becoming accustomed to challenging for the title it is an unusual position for Chelsea to find themselves in and Lampard insists that finishing outside of the Champions League positions is unthinkable.
“The fact that we weren’t in the top four on New Year’s Day has to drive the players on,” he said.
“I get the hump looking at the table and seeing we’re not fighting within a point or two of the lead – never mind being in that situation. We all have to have the hump with that and make sure we react.”
“The players in this squad need to be fighting for the league and now there’s a big gap.”
“Finishing in a Champions League spot has to be the bare minimum, of course. It’s been a given for the last seven or eight years, when we’ve also been fighting for titles.”
“There’s no way we can drop that standard – that has to stay at the club.”