Lampard: Chelsea needed to spend big to replace Hazard
The Blues brought several new players to Stamford Bridge this summer as they look to improve on last season’s performance
Frank Lampard says Chelsea’s summer spending spree was what the club needed to compensate for Eden Hazard’s departure last year.
The Belgium star established himself as one of Europe’s top players during his seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard’s team finished fourth in 2019-20 despite a lack of new additions to the squad because of a transfer ban handed down by FIFA.
This summer, however, saw the Blues make a host of signings, with Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell joining in big-money deals before Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr were also snapped up.
And Lampard feels the splurge was exactly what the club needed to boost their chances of finishing higher up the table this term after losing a player of Hazard’s calibre.
“For me we lost probably the best player in the league,” the manager told reporters. “We couldn’t do any business so the work we did was on the pitch last year.
“Teams that are striving to be in and around top six and upwards were spending last year, they were spending again this summer.
“They’ve had the opportunity with the players they bought last year to get them embedded into their teams and we’re dealing with teams above us, which is where we want to get to, where we are aspiring to get to, that have been building their squads for a long time.
“We want to build our squad. We missed two windows and now we come back in and we’ve brought players in with a view to improve us.”
Despite all the spending, the former Chelsea and England midfielder is not fazed by the pressure to improve on last season.
“I understand it because that’s football. With our process there will be time needed, but we want to work against that and get to where we want to be as quick as possible,” Lampard added.
“But we should have no problem with expectations. Why would you want to manage Chelsea or play for Chelsea without putting pressure on yourself to succeed or have expectations that come with that? It would be pointless to play for this club otherwise.
“I welcome expectations. We have to put them to the side, work hard and try to live up to them.”
Chelsea have collected seven points from their first four Premier League matches of the season and are in action again on Saturday when they host Southampton.