Chelsea's caretaker manager Frank Lampard
London (AFP) - Frank Lampard says his struggling Chelsea stars will “play for pride” as they look to salvage a top-10 finish in the Premier League at the end of a dismal season.
Lampard’s side are languishing in 11th place and could complete the campaign in the bottom half of the table for the first time since 1996.
That would be a suitably dispiriting conclusion to a turbulent season in which Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter were sacked before Lampard returned for a second spell in charge.
Interim boss Lampard, who is expected to be replaced by Mauricio Pochettino in the close season, lost his first six games before finally getting a victory at Bournemouth last weekend.
Chelsea can influence the relegation battle when they host lowly Nottingham Forest on Saturday in a fixture that will be of interest to Lampard’s former club Everton.
Lampard was sacked by Everton in January and the Toffees are still in trouble, sitting two points above the relegation zone and one place below Forest.
“We play for pride in every game no matter what the consequence for everybody else,” Lampard said on Friday.
“It’s our consequence that we’re concerned about. Everton’s fate is in their own hands at this point, it’s not in my concern.”
Chelsea’s win at Bournemouth was a much-needed respite for the club, who had not tasted victory since March 11, when Potter was still in charge, but Lampard said it was important to keep a level head.
“You can’t get carried away over a win,” he said. “I could look at defeat and see positives, I could look at a win and see a lot we need to improve.
“It’s nice for that general feeling of confidence in the building, but in terms of where we want to be it’s a small step. Celebrating all week is not going to be the answer.
“Another game comes in the Premier League with a team fighting for their lives. We have to match that intensity and desire because those are the rules in the Premier League.”