Frank Lampard has urged his players to fight their way out of their slump, telling them passion will have a bigger say than tactics as Chelsea attempt to revive their season.
Lampard is running out of time to save his job after five defeats in eight Premier League games, and he showed signs of strain before facing Luton Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, hitting out at one reporter. Some of the criticism had clearly stung Chelsea’s manager, whose future is in doubt after losing 2-0 against Leicester last Tuesday.
Yet Lampard also mustered defiance, dismissing talk of his managerial inexperience. The 42-year-old said he could handle the pressure and said he wants his players to scrap, arguing that resilience matters more than formations during tough times.
“I’m a fighter,” Lampard said. “It’s how I managed to make a career as a player. I love the fact that if there are tough times you can fight your way out of them – and I mean the players as well, because we are not firing – it’s the best feeling in football. It would make this talented squad. We’re young in parts.
“Fight is an important word in football, so there’s no doubt we have to put some things to one side. It’s not going to be 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 that will win us the games we need to in the short term, it’ll be the passion and the desire and the togetherness of the team.”
Lampard is under fire despite doing well last season, qualifying for the Champions League. “As a player here I always wondered, as I wanted to be a manager: ‘What do tough times feel like?’ I have experienced both levels. I have had some really good games. You have to go into it wanting to handle pressure. That’s why I am a bit short with some of my answers today. I know that some of the talk is nonsense.”
Lampard dismissed suggestions that Chelsea, who served a one-window transfer ban in 2019, overdid it by buying seven players last summer. “I don’t agree with that. What we did is try and invest predominantly in younger players. They’re for the present and the future.”
Fikayo Tomori, the Chelsea defender, has joined Milan on loan with an option to make the deal permanent for £25m plus £5m in add-ons at the end of the season.