Chelsea news

Lampard fears 'disaster'

February 18, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Frank Lampard believes it would be a "disaster" if Chelsea failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Frank Lampard has started the last six games
GettyImages / CliveRoseFrank Lampard has yet to feature in the Champions League after being out injured

• Lampard: Champions League the priority

Chelsea have fallen two points behind Tottenham Hotspur for the qualifying place for next season's competition. The meeting between the clubs at Stamford Bridge on April 30 is looking increasingly like a Champions League play-off, something Spurs have experience of having won at Manchester City in the run-in last term.

Chelsea have not failed to be part of the Champions League since the 2002-03 season, with Roman Abramovich taking over the club at the end of that campaign.

Lampard told BBC Sport: "We must finish in the top four and can never take our eye off the ball. It would be a disaster if we didn't qualify.''

The Blues could still finish fifth and qualify by winning the competition this season - and that would mean the fourth placed team in the Premier League being demoted to the Europa League as no nation can have more than four teams in the Champions League.

Abramovich has spent big in the January transfer window, splashing out more than £70 million on Fernando Torres and David Luiz. While Luiz has impressed, Torres has looked out of sorts, but Lampard is confident the former Liverpool striker will come good.

"He's made a huge difference,'' Lampard insisted. "No, he hasn't scored in two games but all the spotlight is on him.

"There's a huge responsibility, people are looking to him to do it instantly, but he will make a difference to us. He's a top-class player, he has boosted the lads already and for sure will come good, he's going to add to us in a big way.

"David Luiz has come in as well and has been fantastic.

"I was slightly surprised [at the signings] but it was very exciting and I was pleased. It's a huge boost to have such quality players that we needed at the time.

"We haven't spent much in recent years compared to some by our standards, but last season we won the Double and this was a good time for us to go into the market. I'm just thankful we've got the funds to do this.''