ESPN FC Extra: Bucharest test
Frank Lampard believes manager Jose Mourinho will need “two or three months” to get his ideas across but is convinced Chelsea can “do big things”.
The Blues have endured a difficult start to Mourinho’s second reign, with the back-to-back defeats to Everton and Basel earlier this month causing concern.
A much-improved second-half performance in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Saturday gives Chelsea some cause for optimism ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League game against Steaua Bucharest, but Lampard does not think the Blues are yet firing on all cylinders.
“It can take two to three months to develop, for players to follow a new manager’s idea,” the England international said. “It might be a matter of time in certain areas, but I certainly believe in the squad that we can do big things. It’s easy to talk about it, but we actually have to do it, starting from now.
“I really believe in the squad we have and the young players we’ve got. Now it’s important that we take the manager’s ideas on board. I have a lot of respect for him and I know he’s a winner -- he’s shown that not just at Chelsea -- and I think we need to bring that all together.”
Mourinho has said his side face a second successive early elimination from the Champions League if they lose their Group E clash in Romania, but Lampard hopes the victory over Steaua en route to last season’s Europa League success will stand them in good stead.
“I think our group is quite tough,” Lampard said, with the Blues still yet to face Bundesliga side Schalke. “It’s a group where people might have looked at in the beginning and thought it was relatively easy for Chelsea, but when you have a group where there’s a good level and no one team stands out as being very weak you have to prepare for all the games professionally.
“We’re well aware Steaua are a strong team and if we just turn up and think, ‘We’re Chelsea -- we’re going to come and play and win the game easily’, it’s not going to happen, but that’s down to us. We’re lucky we played Steaua Bucharest last season because it makes us fully aware of the good team that they are and particularly the atmosphere we’re going to get.”
Chelsea lost the first leg of last season’s Europa League tie 1-0 in Romania but battled back with a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge and Lampard added: “Last year, in the first half we were slow and we weren’t ready and we lost the game in the first half. Considering the position we’re in now, and we need a result, we have to start the game at a top level.”