Frank Lampard insists that Chelsea’s squad remains “hungry” for success despite obvious struggles, but admits that they are not fit enough at present.
The Blues have endured a testing 2022-23 campaign on multiple fronts, with club legend Lampard becoming their third manager of the season after being appointed on an interim basis through to the summer. He has been charged with the task of reigniting a spark at Stamford Bridge, but his opening three games at the helm have all ended in defeat and questions continue to be asked of whether supposedly elite performers in west London have the stomach for a fight.
Lampard insists that is not an issue, saying:
“I think maybe when some players are lacking confidence then it can be seen as a hunger thing. When you are a yard short, you are just a yard short. Or when you are receiving the ball and not confident, you take your first touch backwards. That can sometimes feel like a hunger or lack of passion thing but I don’t feel that. I feel like the players are hungry to be successful as Chelsea players.”
While Lampard has no problem with the attitude of his players, the Chelsea icon believes he has inherited a squad from Graham Potter that is not in peak physical condition. He added:
“At the minute, it has been mostly conversations and meetings than training pitch stuff. Training pitch stuff was all pretty walkthrough and low level because of the [tiredness] in the legs.
“It is more about speaking to the players individually. When we do get the chance to work, I think the team needs some physical work. I think that’s important for us because at this level you have to be right on the limit and we are not on the limit right now. I think that can be a capacity thing with the players for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter how we got there but it needs to be addressed now.”
Lampard has suffered defeats against Wolves, Real Madrid and Brighton since returning to Stamford Bridge for a second spell as boss and is set to face the reigning kings of Europe again on Tuesday. La Liga giants Real pay a visit to England for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final showdown, with the Blues in need of overturning a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.