Lampard: Blues need to step it up
Published 10/01/2011 | 15:07
Frank Lampard admits Chelsea have not worked hard enough to arrest their alarming slide down the Barclays Premier League.
England midfielder Lampard believes a lack of confidence and quality have also played their part in the club's worst run of league results for almost 15 years.
But it is his suggestion the champions have not been putting in enough of the hard yards that will give most cause for concern.
It could be viewed as implied criticism of his team-mates, with the 32-year-old having sat out virtually all of the club's miserable run through injury.
And, perhaps worryingly for manager Carlo Ancelotti, Lampard compared the current slump of one league win in nine to that which saw Luiz Felipe Scolari sacked by the club almost two years ago.
"There was a time like this near the end of the Luiz Felipe Scolari reign when we were struggling to get wins," said Lampard whose two goals in yesterday's 7-0 FA Cup thrashing of Ipswich went some way to lifting the gloom at Stamford Bridge.
"Everyone has spells like that to an extent but this one has been a little more prolonged over a period of time.
"That's the upsetting thing. It is certainly time for us to change it now.
"Not winning games is the biggest thing that has affected us.
"There are quite a few reasons for that, a lack of confidence being one of them, but there has also been a lack of quality and workrate. We need to step it up across the board to get back to where we want to be.
"Everyone at Chelsea understands we're not expected to have the run of results we've had.
"We have high standards and the results we've had the last two months is not the level we expect.
"The league games coming up are very important and we need to take the spirit and energy we showed against Ipswich, which has maybe been lacking before, into the next few matches."
Chelsea looked like running away with the Premier League two months ago but have dropped 23 of the last 33 points on offer to fall nine behind Manchester United having played a game more.
And Lampard knows yesterday's romp against an Ipswich side in disarray following the sacking of manager Roy Keane will mean nothing if last season's double winners do not carry some momentum into Saturday's game with Blackburn.
"The important thing is not to think we're back but make sure that we carry this performance over and get a few wins together," he said.
"Earlier in the season, we were up at the top of the table playing great stuff but now we're not and it's a test of the squad and a test of the character.
"You can't always be winning leagues and going on a great run where you're winning 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, like we were at the back end of last season.
"Sometimes, it's not rosy and that's when you have to stand up individually, put your hard work in and help the team turn it around."
Lampard's double yesterday help set up a fourth-round cup tie at Everton and were his first goals in open play since his recent return from almost four months out with a hernia and groin problem.
The injury was initially thought to be minor but Lampard insisted: "It wasn't misdiagnosed.
"It was probably a little bit my fault. It's always easy with hindsight but now I would have had a lot more rest when I first did the injury.
"I was trying to push to be fit for games when I should have waited for my body to naturally heal."
He added: "It was a bad injury and I wasn't really told that at the beginning.
"In the end, I went to see someone and they told me it was a minimum three-months injury. Once I got my head around that, it was easier to take.
"When you think you're going to be back every week and people keep asking you that, and then you're not, it becomes even more frustrating.
"Some of the weeks, particularly in the middle of it, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel."