The former Blues midfielder believes that, on the back of a summer of elaborate spending, pressure is on to compete for the grandest of prizes
Frank Lampard has been warned that, on the back of an elaborate summer spending spree, he will need to live up to Roman Abramovich’s expectations or “he’ll be out” with Craig Burley claiming pressure is building at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues invested nothing in two windows as they battled to see a transfer embargo lifted. The Premier League giants are now making up for lost time, with Lampard being freed to make several big-money additions to his squad.
Deals have been tied up for Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva, with the promise of more to come as Chelsea close in on Kai Havertz and a new first-choice goalkeeper. The hope is that fresh faces will help to push the Blues back into Premier League title contention.
Burley believes Lampard will need to deliver on that remit in order to keep his job, with Abramovich set to demand an immediate return on his substantial outlay.
“Well, he’ll have to [live up to the expectations] or he’ll be out,” former Blues midfielder Burley told ESPN FC. “He’s adored by the Chelsea fans because of his hugely successful time there but Abramovich is not running a sentimental ship, and he’s backed him.
“Frank Lampard now knows he’s going to have to prove his worth. I think we saw enough last year in terms of the way his team played that there is a lot of hope there.
“I think there are concerns about the way his team defended at times and that’s something that he’s going to have to sort out, but the thing is, Abramovich and the ownership will expect him to be in the title shake-up.
“The very least they will expect, if they are out of the title running during the season, is that – and I’ve talked about this a lot, the gap that Chelsea and Man United had to Liverpool was over 30 points – the very least that he can show if he’s out of the title race next season is that that gap has been narrowed considerably.
“He cannot afford to finish in fourth spot next year, 33 points or 32 points off the top boys, that’s not going to cut it. So as long as there’s progress there, I think he’ll get some time, and that’s where the pressure’s going to be.”
While pointing out that Lampard is under pressure to perform in the Chelsea dugout, Burley does believe that the Blues are piecing together a squad that is capable of hitting the club’s lofty targets.
The Scot added: “That being said, if the players do gel and there’s been a heck of a lot coming in, I don’t see any reason, none at all, why they couldn’t make a really good fist of pegging that gap to Liverpool back.”