New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard already finds himself in must-win territory, says Emmanuel Petit, with a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United suggesting that some players are still “thinking about what a big loss Eden Hazard is”.
The Blues have had to contend with the departure of their most potent attacking threat in what has been a testing summer at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri also left the club, leading former fans’ favourite Lampard to be returned to familiar surroundings.
He is still waiting on a first competitive win, following a Premier League defeat at Old Trafford and UEFA Super Cup penalty shootout reversal against Liverpool.
Former Blues midfielder Petit believes three points are now imperative in a home date with Leicester on Sunday, with it vital that losses on and off the field are quickly forgotten.
The Frenchman told Paddy Power: “They have to win it, it’s so important for the players and their confidence but also for Lampard’s confidence too.
“After United I believe the players were thinking about what a big loss Eden Hazard is, and how they would compete without replacing him.
“But after the Super Cup and a win against Leicester can turn that confidence around, they have a quality team with quality players and Lampard is using youth too which is good to see.
“Jorginho had by far his best game in a Chelsea shirt since he arrived and to do well those performances need to be kept up.
“Failure to beat Leicester will mean people will start asking questions of Lampard, it will put much more pressure on him and on the players and questions will be on the table about whether Lampard is right for the job.
“That in turn puts more stress in the dressing room and more trouble for the manager.
“The pressure will be so huge on their shoulders if they don’t get the result, so they have to start well and win convincingly.
“It’ll buy them time to work on the team and bring back confidence, but after the Liverpool game I would say they have good reason to believe they will win.
“If they keep playing like that, they will games and that’s a fact.
“For me, they have the players to do well in the Premier League this season, they will be one of the teams to beat – though I can’t say the same for the Champions League.
“Lampard received some criticism from Jose Mourinho when they played Chelsea, but it was his job to comment and be honest about what he felt.
“He will realise that he will get a lot of opinions now and people telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, people pointing in your face and telling you that you are wrong, but it’s the same for all big clubs.
“You will face criticism as Chelsea manager.”
Lampard is fully aware of the pressure he is working under, having inherited a side working under a two-window transfer embargo, but retains full faith in his ability to deliver results back in west London.