Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Frank Lampard says Premier League top-four battle far from over

Chelsea manager warns players not to take Champions League qualification for granted

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has warned his players the fight is still on for a top-four Premier League finish.

Christian Pulisic and Willian found the net as the fourth-placed Blues defeated Manchester City 2-1 on Thursday and created a five-point gap on Manchester United in fifth.

Chelsea's victory sealed Liverpool's first top-flight title in 30 years, with City seeing captain Fernandinho sent off for handball after Kevin De Bruyne had equalised.

Despite the Blues' cushion in the points table, manager Lampard said his side can't take Champions League qualification for granted.

"It's a big three points for us but we're in a battle here," Lampard was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"It's not going to be decided by that game. It's a nice result that will give us confidence but the consistency that we produce to the end of the season is what will define us this year if we are to get the finish we want to have.

"I'm not getting carried away. We can get better. We can be better on the ball.

"We can have more possession. It's one of the only games in which we didn't have the lion's share of possession but we have to accept that and be happy with the result.

"We had to work a lot off the ball, as you do with Pep Guardiola teams and Manchester City. The way the lads showed the work ethic and focus throughout the game, how dangerous we were; we had the better chances in the game."

Brazil forward Willian moved straight from extending his expiring contract until the end of the delayed season to burying the pivotal penalty against City.

Willian could yet leave Chelsea at the end of this campaign, but whatever happens next, Lampard says he can rely on the 31-year-old.

"I'm delighted with Willian, he's been great for me this season," said Lampard.

"The players look up to him, he's a senior player in the group. He has quality, he has work ethic and it was a continuation of his form for big parts of the season."

Updated: June 26, 2020 02:37 PM

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