Frank Lampard says he is ‘really proud’ of his Chelsea players this season and has promised to ‘keep moving forward’ as he reflects on his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea‘s campaign came to an end with a Champions League elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich last weekend, the west London outfit ending the season without silverware despite a promising season under Lampard’s guidance.
Lampard’s debut season has seen the club secure a top four finish and reach the FA Cup final despite a transfer-ban being placed on the Blues last summer, whilst the introduction of several academy graduates – including the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham – and marquee arrivals of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner has raised optimism ahead of next season.
The club have, however, suffered from several defensive issues this season with the form of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga a notable concern, their 54 goals conceded the highest of any side in the Premier League‘s top half and their fragility exposed over two humbling Champions League encounters – in which they conceded seven goals – against Bayern.
Lampard insists he remains pleased with his side’s progress during his debut campaign but says he is always searching for ways to improve, the Chelsea boss insisting his players still have some way to go before they can challenge England and Europe’s elite for major prizes.
“I always look at things,” Lampard told Chelsea’s official website. “I do it every night, I sit there and I assess things. I think going away from football now for a week or so will help with the reflection, we can recharge and refresh. But I’m already thinking about next season.
“I’m thinking of where we want to go and how we need to improve. That game [versus Bayern] showed that we can compete, certainly the young players, but also highlights how much work there is for us to get to the level we want to be at.
“I’ve been there myself as a player. Going into Champions League games and realising how high the level is, and it’s about how you react to those experiences and come back from them.
“I’ll certainly be on the players to remember that as we go away but I have to say, I’m really proud for the effort and the togetherness that they’ve shown this season.
“I think a lot of people would have written us off this year. When you think of Chelsea eras just gone, of prime Hazards, and Drogbas and Terrys and Cechs, it looked different this year and the players have fought for everything. I hope the fans have appreciated that fight, we certainly appreciate their support, and I can promise them that we will be doing everything we can to keep moving forward.”