Frank Lampard said Chelsea will have to go through “periods of pain” to reach the standards set by Manchester City after Pep Guardiola’s men outclassed the Blues in a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
City brushed off a series of coronavirus-related absences as goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne killed the game as a contest inside 35 minutes.
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Victory lifts City to within four points of Liverpool and Manchester United at the top of the table, but with a game in hand on both to come.
Chelsea were expected to challenge for the title themselves after a £220 million ($300 million) spending spree in the transfer market, but a run of one win in six games has left them down in eighth, seven points off the pace having played a game more than the leaders.
Roman Abramovich has dismissed plenty of Chelsea managers in the past for similar spells of form and the pressure in mounting on Lampard to prove he can mould a talented squad of individuals into a team capable of competing for major honours.
“There are periods of pain we are going to go through. That was painful in the first half for the players,” said Lampard, who publicly lambasted his side’s effort in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last weekend.
“I’ll be the first to look at myself today. When I look at this squad, I know there is uplift in this team but I know where we are at because I can see and I know the work it takes to be at the level Man City showed today.
“It’s normal that as a squad we take little knocks along the way, now it is a test.” (AFP)