Frank Lampard played down Chelsea’s title chances, saying they were “not a Liverpool of last year”.
After being considered Premier League contenders, Lampard’s men have suffered back-to-back losses, falling to eighth in the table – nine points behind leaders Liverpool but having played one less game.
Jurgen Klopp’s men secured a breakthrough league title last season, winning the crown with 99 points.
Lampard said the progress of his team needed to be realistic, insisting they were not at the level of last season’s Liverpool or Manchester City before that.
“The realism now is that we are not a Liverpool of last year, or a Man City of the year before who just go win, win, win — we are in a progression and have to be ready for some tough moments,” the Chelsea head coach told reporters.
“That’s why I kept talking about us two or three weeks ago when everyone was talking about how we should win the league.
“My reasoning for putting a dampener on that was there are other teams that have been together longer, which brings a confidence among a group where they can deal with things better in games.
“It is part of where our progression is at, we have some younger players and as time goes on they will get stronger in those moments. That’s why you have to take lessons when you lose.”
Chelsea will look to return to form when they host West Ham on Monday.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 18, 2020
The encounter is set to see Mason Mount and Declan Rice, who came through the academy at Chelsea together, go head-to-head.
Lampard believes the battle between friends will bring the best out of both.
“It’s healthy, it’s good. The competitive nature will come out when you play against your friends,” he said.
“Those personal battles generate an extra level of competition between Mason and Declan individually and that’s fine, that’s how it should be.
“I don’t know Declan that well but they’re both young, hungry boys who want to do well for their team.”