Frank Lampard is not concerned with Chelsea potentially being fifth in the Premier League by the time they next play but warned his side they cannot repeat the approach taken in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Sheffield United.
The Blues’ Champions League ambitions were dented as a brace from David McGoldrick – one goal either side of Oli McBurnie’s header – sealed all three points for the Blades
Third-placed Chelsea were second best throughout at Bramall Lane, with a limp defeat meaning Leicester City and Manchester United can leapfrog them with wins over Bournemouth and Southampton respectively.
Fifth may still be enough for Champions League football, depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year ban from the competition.
However, Lampard has no designs on putting Chelsea’s fate in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Lampard told Sky Sports: “What we have to do now with that game is put that to bed because the only thing that matters now is that we fight for top four and we’re still in that race because of how we’ve been this season. We have to put this game away very quickly, but I learnt a lot.
“They were stronger than us, I think you could feel that. We don’t have a crowd so you hear every voice, all I could hear was Sheffield United voices.
“They were stronger in that sense, and they’re good players, they’re a good team. We all know that this season. So if you come here and perform below par collectively as we did, it’s going to happen.”
However, Lampard is not focusing on where Chelsea could be in the table come their next game against relegated Norwich City on Thursday, which is followed by the FA Cup semi-final with United and the Blues’ final two league matches versus champions Liverpool and Wolves.
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“That’s the reality of it but I’m not concerned so much about top four today,” Lampard replied when asked about dropping to fifth.
“All I do is sit and watch all the games on TV and consider where we’re at and what we want to do, because, of course, I want to get there, but today I’m concerned about how we performed and I learnt a lot about that.
“I’m not thinking right now, ‘We might be fifth, we might still be third or fourth.’ I’m thinking that we’ll see by the time these teams play and by the time we approach Norwich, and we cannot approach Norwich or Manchester United or Liverpool and Wolves in the same vein as we did today.”