Lampard refuses to blame inexperience for Chelsea's struggles

By Sports Desk February 21, 2020

Frank Lampard insists inexperience is not the main reason for a downturn in form which has seen Chelsea's lead for the fourth Champions League qualification spot reduced to a single point.

Chelsea host Tottenham – and their former boss Jose Mourinho – on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, heading into the encounter on the back of one win in their past six league matches.

Should Spurs win, they will move above Chelsea into fourth, while Sheffield United and Manchester United are also within touching distance.

However, Lampard does not believe Chelsea's struggles are down to a lack of experience, adding that young players have to come through the tough patches to prove their top-flight credentials.

"I don't think it's inexperience," Lampard told a news conference. "You can look at the youth in the squad and perhaps that's an easy conclusion.

"Perhaps that's part of it but it's not easy to pinpoint. The clinical nature of not scoring, the sloppy nature of having a lapse which gives a team with one or two shots a goal, which has happened a couple of times at home. Is it experience, quality? There's a lot of things to it.

"This period is what all Premier League clubs suffer. As young players you have to be even more aware that it can affect their confidence, because they're new to the team and the eyes of the world are on them.

"It's a big deal and a test for the younger players and I think with the physical nature of the league over the course of the season then there were always going to be little dips.

"The players will certainly come out of it better. It's how they train, how they play. I believe in all of them and think they're all going to be top players for this club, but they have to keep pushing and get out of moments like this."

Should Manchester City's two-year ban from the Champions League be upheld, fifth place would be enough to secure qualification for Europe's elite competition next season.

However, Lampard was not concerned by the suggestion a failure to qualify for the Champions League would result in Chelsea losing their best players, such as N'Golo Kante, who will miss Saturday's match through injury.

"We obviously want to keep our best players. Kante is an incredible player, everyone knows that," Lampard added.

"At the end of the day, no matter what the quality of the player, you want players who want to be here at Chelsea and push to close the gap upwards.

"It's a question for the end of the season. The player you mention [Kante] – we want to be adding to players like that."

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