Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton believes the levels of expectations for Blues manager Frank Lampard will be ramped up, as he aims to move the club back into trophy contention.
Lampard leads Chelsea into an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester on Sunday aiming to add to his four wins in the competition as a player.
Victory in the final would be his first piece of silverware as a manager and Sutton suggests the pressure is about to build around the Blues all-time record goal scorer.
Chelsea could not sign players when Lampard was appointed as manager last summer due to a transfer embargo.
But Sutton warns the high profile signings of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner will be followed by a demand to climb the Premier League standings.
“I think he has done a good job and answered some of the people who questioned whether he deserved to get the job,” BT Sport analyst Sutton, who joined the Blues in a £10m deal in 1999, told TEAMtalk.
“Arguably, Frank went into the first big job of his managerial career at the perfect moment.
“They had a transfer embargo to deal with, expectations were massively diluted and Lampard had time to get used to the job and the fact that Chelsea are sitting in the top four of the Premier League is a testament to the job he has done.
“Now, after the money that has been spent and the quality of the players that have been signed, there will be a very different pressure for Frank to deal with next season.
“That is the nature of the business we are in. There will be pressure when you are at a big club and the big question for Frank will be can they close the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City, who are quite a distance ahead of them at the moment. Those two teams are the benchmark at the moment.”
‘FA CUP NOT A GIVEN FOR CHELSEA’
Sutton also insists Chelsea are not favourites to win the FA Cup this season, even after their impressive 2-1 win against Manchester City on Thursday night that confirmed Liverpool’s coronation as Premier League champions.
“There are a lot of big teams still left in the FA Cup, so it will be tough for Chelsea to win it,” he added.
“They also have a tough game against Leicester on Sunday as even though they have had a slow start since the return to action, they have players who are capable of hurting Chelsea. It will be a tight game and it could go either way.”
Elsewhere, Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League table in the race for Champions League qualification next season.