Lampard: Reds had to improve after their spending

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says that his team are above criticism. Chelsea’s money injection has seen them move to the top of the league, becoming champions last season, but it hasn’t been able to buy them the respect they feel they should have been given. Jose Mourinho criticises the opposition and the officials after every dropped point, and drew criticism from some Liverpool players after the first Champions League draw of this season at Anfield. Lampard seems to think only Chelsea are allowed to have a go though, saying: “I don’t think players should criticise teams that are successful and who are doing things the right way.”

He says that the Liverpool comments motivated Chelsea for the league game that took place a few days later: “I wouldn’t say they have got under our skin because we do focus on ourselves, but there were things said before the last Champions League game we weren’t happy with, we felt we had been talked about in a bad way.” Liverpool were beaten 4-1 in the league match, a scoreline that possibly represented who the better team were on the day, but not the margin of how much better they were.

Lampard says that after that win they were in a position to say anything they liked about Liverpool: “We came out and said that after we beat them in the league. I think we were in a fair position to do so after we beat them because we felt we had been talked about in a bad way and we put it right in the league game up there which is the main place to do your talking. Football can’t be a game where you hold grudges and worry about things for a long period of time because it will start to affect your performances.”

The Chelsea midfielder says that being criticised by Liverpool was
wrong, but goes on to criticise them. He says that the criticism from
Liverpool gave them motivation to beat Liverpool, but that criticism
doesn’t make them play any differently: “We can only do our best and if
people don’t respect you or don’t give you credit, then in-house you
are not too concerned as long as you are winning and being successful.”

According to Lampard, the criticism from opposing fans and players is
down to footballing rivalry, not envy: “I don’t think it’s envy, it’s
just the way of the football world, everyone wants their team to be the
best, everyone wants their team to go as far as they can, it’s
understandable.” In fact the criticism for Chelsea would be heard a lot
less if their constant arrogance was not accompanied by constant
complaining at any dropped point. It’s not envy from fans of other
teams – because it’s not just rivals that criticise Chelsea. Chelsea’s
achievement has been to do well with an amount of money never before
seen in football – in fact they haven’t done as well as they should
have done given the amount of investment they’ve had. For Lampard,
Chelsea are the best: “Last year, we proved we were the best by winning
the league and we hope to do that again. Whatever that brings with it
from outside we are not too concerned about.”

Lampard – once turned down by Liverpool – says that Liverpool have
improved, but needed to because, believe it or not, the amount of money
they have spent: “Liverpool have made big strides – but I think
probably they had to. They had to move forward with the squad they’ve
got. They’ve spent good money in the last year or two and have got a
good manager, so they had to.” Don’t let Jose hear you paying Rafa any
compliments Frank.

Frank then goes on to grace Liverpool with his blessing for their fifth
European Cup win, last season in Istanbul: “I think if you ask the
players they were very happy to win the Champions League, which was a
fantastic thing for their club, but in terms of their league position,
for Liverpool to be outside the top four – well, everyone knows they
weren’t happy with that.”

Frank says that Liverpool have got better this season compared to last,
but he doesn’t see them as a main threat: “They have moved on this
season and are on a great run but I see them as one of our top rivals
not the main one. They have now moved up to the level where Manchester
United and Arsenal have been for the last few seasons.” Lampard gives
the impression that Chelsea are above everybody else and have been for
years. They won the league last season – their first for fifty years –
and are on course to win it again this season, so it’s not exactly like
they’ve always been there. This attitude is what upsets opposition
fans. Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all have a stronger
history than Chelsea. Ten years from now we may be talking about
Chelsea’s history in the same way we talk about the three other clubs,
but for now Chelsea have no more history than Blackburn Rovers or Aston
Villa. And we don’t mean any disrespect to Blackburn or Villa.