Frank Lampard reckons Chelsea still have the quality to qualify for Champions League football again next season even without Eden Hazard.
Despite having just one season of experience under his belt, Lampard has replaced Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea’s new manager.
The 41-year-old will have his work cut out at Stamford Bridge across the next 12 months, with Chelsea’s two-transfer window ban from FIFA forcing the club to not make any signings.
In light of this development, Lampard intends to give the younger players a chance in the first-team next season. This will undoubtedly come as a welcome bit of news for the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose futures had been doubted amid struggles for regular action in the past year.
The major concern at Chelsea, however, is on their chances of retaining their top-four spot in the Premier League.
And their prospects received a massive blow following star man Hazard’s decision to end a seven-year stay at Chelsea in favour of a summer move to Real Madrid.
But Lampard is convinced of the squad’s quality and outlined the importance of Chelsea aiming for nothing less than a top-four finish.
“We want to be playing Champions League football year in, year out,” said Lampard, according to Stadium Astro.
“For sure there is a lot of competition at the top of the table. We also have a very strong squad of players and there is huge talent there. We haven’t been decimated.
“Of course there are variables, we know about the transfer ban, we know Manchester City and Liverpool pulled away slightly last year.
“We have to be realistic about that, but we should never stop trying as Chelsea to be up there.”
Lampard has a glowering legacy at Chelsea following a stellar 13-year playing career, where he won every competition and finished as the club’s record scorer on 211 goals in 648 games.
When asked about the risk the managerial job may have on his Chelsea legacy, Lampard replied: “I don’t see it as a risk.
“I’m the type of personality that loves challenges. I’m not fearful of the downside. I’m ready to stand up and accept that side of it.”