Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has insisted that victory over Manchester United on Monday will not be enough to end the Red Devils’ hopes of a top-four finish this season.
The Blues head into the clash at Stamford Bridge in fourth, six points ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and will extend that lead to nine points with a win.
Such a statement victory would be an important one for Chelsea and Lampard given their recent struggles over the last couple of months.
When asked if United’s top-four hopes would be over with defeat, however, Lampard said: “No, not on nine points.
“Not at this time with the amount of points to play for and the way the Premier League is, certainly not.”
Sheffield United, Wolves and Everton all sit between Chelsea and United in the table, with Lampard admitting the Premier League’s increasing financial might has altered the top-four equation.
“It’s tougher, in terms of picking up points as you can see,” said Lampard. “It’s just a changing of the Premier League slightly, teams now can invest a lot of money.
“Teams can get promoted to the Premier League and spend £100million and it doesn’t guarantee success.
“That’s the kind of challenge we are talking about but challenges are a good thing, and it’s a challenge for us.”
Asked whether he discusses league table scenarios with his players, Lampard continued: “I would do at certain times, I don’t think you should speak about it too much, because you end up with your eyes everywhere, up and down the table and around yourself.
“And we can only affect ourselves first and foremost. But I don’t think it’s the worst motivational tool for all of us to really understand the situation.
“Because I have a deep sense of pride about wanting to get fourth place, and I remember having that as a player, we were fighting for first and second place for a good period when I was here and that’s how you should be.
“So I don’t mind referencing that to the players, I look at the league table probably two or three times a day sometimes. You can become obsessed with it, but that’s for me to do.
“For the players, I think reminding them sometimes is fine, it’s a good tool.”
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