Frank Lampard has rejected the significance of the fact that Chelsea have yet to beat a ‘Big Six’ club this season, despite their recent unbeaten run.
The Blues went unbeaten for 17 matches earlier this term, a run which ended on December 12. Indeed, in that time they faced Manchester United and Tottenham but could only muster 0-0 draws.
Since their 1-0 loss to Everton, though, they have continued to suffer patchy form, picking up four points from four games.
On Sunday, they have a chance to earn a statement win over Manchester City – not only to end their recent run against the top teams.
According to Lampard, though, such a stat is not relevant given the strengths of the likes of Leeds. Chelsea beat the Whites in their last game before losing to Everton.
“That stat is overly spoken about,” the manager said. “We were playing Leeds at the time and Leeds are not in the top six, but Leeds will be one of the toughest teams anyone will play this season.
“Last season we beat top-six teams and finished fourth. If you want to get to the top where Liverpool and City have been for the last four years, you have to win your fair share of games so I understand that side of it.
“But after 16 games of the season, I don’t think it’s very relevant. It’s three points at the end of the day.”
Chelsea beat City last season in the game which handed Liverpool the Premier League title in June.
Both sides have changed since then, however, adding to and losing personnel from their ranks. Indeed, Chelsea spent over £200million in the last transfer window on several new players.
One player who has struggled to settle in, however, is Kai Havertz. The midfielder started brightly but has suffered from Covid-19 and is not yet back to his best.
Lampard offers staunch Havertz backing
Lampard gave the Germany international his staunch backing after his tough start to life in west London.
“Kai had five work days with us before he first played and that’s just not beneficial to a player in any league, let alone when you’re coming to the fastest, most physical league in the world,” he said.
“Just as Kai was coming to terms with that – and you saw some really good performances from him – he got Covid and he had it quite severely.
“He’s definitely had a bit of a fallout from that physically. We know that and are trying to help him deal with that. The expectations around him… you have to put context into the story.
“Kai’s talent is undoubted and I see that every day. Giving him the time to adapt to the Premier League and to our team is crucial.
“I have full belief in him and we need to give him that time, particularly because of the Covid situation. That’s not a non-issue.”
While Havertz has recovered from coronavirus, several City players will miss Sunday’s match after an outbreak at the club.
City are also investigating after Benjamin Mendy hosted a New Year’s Eve party against UK government regulations.