Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said that the added pressure on him this season following the club’s vast summer spending should be the norm, because he didn’t take the job in the first place just to settle for a place in the Premier League top four.
Lampard guided Chelsea to a fourth place finish in his debut season back at Stamford Bridge, contending with a transfer ban last summer in the process. But now £200m has been spent on new players to improve the squad and critics are already sharpening the knives.
The 42-year-old club legend is fully aware of the increasing expectation for him to deliver more, but he says it is something he fully expects and will thrive from.
“I didn't come into the job to fight for fourth place or bring academy players in; I came here to win. Last year we couldn't recruit and this year the club have made the decision to bring in players,” Lampard told a media briefing ahead of Chelsea’s first game of the new season against Brighton on Monday.
“The pressure on me to do better should be standard. I don't want to talk about statements.
“Last year, we were very happy for Champions League places. We were very joined up in the business we wanted to do. I am surprised if you didn't think I wasn't under pressure last season. I thrive off the pressures. It's what I love doing.”
But Chelsea’s first game of 2020/21 will be without three of the club’s five summer signings thus far. Hakim Ziyech suffered a knock against the same opposition in a recent pre-season friendly, while Ben Chilwell is still recovered from the heel problem that saw him miss the end of last season with Leicester. Thiago Silva, meanwhile, has not been training long enough to feature.
There could, however, be Chelsea debuts for German internationals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who have been assigned the number 11 and 29 shirts respectively.