Admit it, because we have: Frank Lampard leading transfer ban-bound Chelsea back into the Champions League was a thought held by only the most bullish of Blues.
But that’s exactly what’s happened now that Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0 on Championship Sunday to land fourth place and an automatic place in the UCL.
That’s better, relatively speaking, than the Europa League title route used to get into the UCL last season under Maurizio Sarri.
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And it was done with a bevy of young players like Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount, with big time reinforcements coming in the form of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.
The latter was in the stands on Sunday and Lampard hopes the free-scoring ex-RB Leipzig star is buzzing to pull on a blue shirt after Chelsea’s Sunday display.
“I hope he’d see a team who played with a lot of spirit,” Lampard said after the win, via Football.London. “A moment like Mason Mount did and we have things we want to improve on, but there is talent in the squad. Hopefully it was a nice first viewing for him.”
Chelsea can still make Lampard’s successful first season a shinier one when it meets Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on Aug. 1 at Wembley Stadium. And, of course, there’s a slim chance the Blues can reverse a 3-0 first leg deficit to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
But that’s in the future and Lampard has his thoughts on now.
“I am very pleased and I don’t want to sing my own praises,” he said. “I have said a lot before that there were unknowns. You have seen breakthrough seasons, so it’s a team effort of staff and players. I am proud. But we want to challenge for titles in the future. We have been inconsistent at times.”
There’s a lot to like with Lampard, who’s carried himself without too many highs nor lows and kept Chelsea’s expectation and ambition at the heart of all of his answers. A club man, indeed. What will he do next season with title expectations?Follow @NicholasMendola