Chelsea is not a “broken” team this season and co-owner Todd Boehly had every right to address the squad he has invested in, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday ahead of its Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid.
Chelsea, which trails Real Madrid 2-0 on aggregate after losing the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, comes into the game on the back of a six-match winless run, with interim boss Lampard losing his first three games in charge.
With Chelsea 17 points off the top four despite spending more than 600 million euros ($655.50 million) on new players, winning the Champions League is the London club’s only realistic chance of qualifying for the lucrative competition next season.
The situation is similar to when Chelsea finished sixth in the league in 2011-12 when Lampard was a player at the club, but it qualified for the Champions League after winning the competition.
“We are not where we want to be. I think the word ‘broken’ is a bit much. The league position is reality and we are 2-0 down (in this tie),” Lampard told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.
“We have to work against that, I don’t think anything that happens tomorrow will be better than when we won the Champions League (in 2012). It’s down to us as a team to play with desire and know-how to turn this game around. I’ve been here too many times on a Champions League night not to understand that the atmosphere is going to be great. It is down to us to engage the crowd.”
Lampard said he would have no problem should Chelsea fail to advance as he was ‘proud’ to manage the club.
“What will be, will be after tomorrow,” Lampard added. “Every game is an opportunity to win games... an opportunity to get back to winning. Every game is and should be a huge game.”
British media had reported that an upset Boehly had come into the dressing room after the weekend’s loss to Brighton & Hove Albion to talk to the squad and Lampard said he was ‘comfortable’ with the American’s involvement.
“I think there was some criticism of our old owner (Roman Abramovich) for not coming to games and being around. That wasn’t always true, to be fair,” he said.
“When an owner is invested in helping the team, it is their prerogative to have the input they want. I’m not going to say what he (Boehly) said but it’s normal when he comes to the changing room.”
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