London: In his maiden season as Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard has made it clear that he is looking at his young guns to make it count as the team looks to finish in the top four in the league. Having failed to acquire experienced players due to the transfer ban last summer, it is now on the youngsters to step up.
"It's a critical time for us and I need the young players to do their thing. I think when you come through this academy, you should understand what playing for the first team at Chelsea looks like. You must always drive yourself and drive yourself and, if there's times when you're not necessarily at your best, you need to drive yourself again," Lampard said.
"The young players have made a great impact this season and we've had reliance on them to a degree, because we knew we couldn't bring anyone in at the start. Through the season I think there are going to be some difficult times and, if you look at Tammy Abraham at the moment, and maybe Mason (Mount), I think the break was particularly good for them as they can come back and hopefully show more levels in their game.
"There's been tough little times recently and I think it's up to them now. They've shown they are part of this first-team squad and they've all had their good inputs but I want more and I think I want more now."
Commenting on his own stint, Lampard said that he keeps introspecting and thinking of ways in which he can make the team play better.
"I always like to reflect on myself and how I work. When you're a new manager at a club, and I only came in last summer, you always think: "What small tweaks can I make to how we prepare and how we train daily?
"There was a lot of self-reflection (during the break). And just having some time away, having a bit of clarity, I think we should be happy that we're in fourth position. I think that would have been a plus at the start of the season.
"At the same time how can we get that extra 10 or 15 per cent which I think we've been lacking? We would have had a lot more points on the board (if we did) and made fourth look a lot more comfortable," he said.