Frank Lampard has admitted that being dropped earlier in the season "spurred him on" to reclaim his place in the Chelsea side.
Lampard appeared to have fallen down the pecking order under Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, with the midfielder's club and international future the subject of conjecture.
However, Lampard, who has started ten of the Blues' 11 Premier League matches this season, has returned to form of late, scoring twice in his last three Chelsea appearances.
"Being out of the team spurred me on," Lampard said. "The minute you're taken out of the team people talk. I've trained hard and I've won my place back in the team."
Chelsea returned to winning ways in the league at the weekend as they claimed a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, yet they remain nine points behind pace-setters Manchester City.
Of their league hopes, Lampard said: "Last year we were 15 points behind and we got back to where we could have won it at the end.
"You never write it off, but you have to see how well the other teams are playing, particularly City, and we don't want to give ourselves that much of a mountain to climb at this stage.
"It's enough of a gap as it is, and the competition at the top is so fierce you cannot afford to lose too many points. But I think experience tells us there's a long way to go."