Frank Lampard said Chelsea will have to deal with pressure for the rest of the season after boosting their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Watford.
Chelsea kept their nerve after seeing Leicester and Manchester United pick up wins earlier in the day, holding on to fourth spot and bouncing back from the midweek defeat to West Ham by swatting Watford aside thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Willian and Ross Barkley.
“Every game is going to be pressure now,” Lampard said. “West Ham was pressure because we knew we could go third. It’s a different kind of pressure. But it’s still the same – it’s how you focus on the game and the job in hand. We cannot get too caught up in what everyone else does at the moment and we did that well tonight. There was no nonsense. It was good, we started bright and we carried on and got the small details right at both ends of the pitch.”
Lampard argued Chelsea should be pleased to be two points above a team as talented as United with five games left. “They’re a very good team,” Chelsea’s manager said. “I watched their game earlier. I think they have individual quality when you look across their front line and see players on 20 goals and Mason Greenwood scoring regularly and [Bruno] Fernandes and [Paul] Pogba in midfield.
“The fact we’re two points ahead of them, we have to be pretty happy. We know they’re going to be contesting right until the end because of the form they’re in. So respect to Manchester United and others around us. At the same time, can we focus on ourselves and try and keep picking up results? That’s what will be the main importance to us.”
Lampard expects N’Golo Kanté to miss Tuesday’s trip to Crystal Palace after the midfielder went off with a hamstring injury in the second half. “We’ll have to scan tomorrow and see how bad it is,” he said. “We hope it’s small. That’s what I’ve been told so far. After the scan we’ll know. I’m guessing it will be a problem for Palace on Tuesday.”
Lampard praised Kepa Arrizabalaga after the goalkeeper responded to criticism of his performance against West Ham by making a late save to deny Watford’s Danny Welbeck. “I thought we defended pretty well when we needed to but the moment when we slipped and they got in, he makes a really good save,” Lampard said. “That’s what you want from your goalkeeper. You want them to stay alert and be ready to make that sort of save. It’s going to be great for his confidence.”