Under-pressure Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard accepts the Blues are "not ready to compete" for the Premier League title following another defeat.

Chelsea lost 2-0 at Leicester City on Tuesday, meaning their only win in their previous five Premier League games was against a Fulham side languishing in the relegation zone.

Victory for Leicester put Brendan Rodgers' side top of the table at least until Manchester United go to Fulham on Wednesday, while Chelsea will be 11 points adrift of the summit if the Red Devils win.

It was not so long ago that Chelsea were being dubbed favourites for the Premier League title by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, with Lampard's side top of the pile as recently as early December.

Since beating Leeds United to go top on December 5, Chelsea have taken just seven points from a possible 24 and Tuesday's defeat meant only Newcastle United (52) have conceded more away goals in the Premier League than them (50) since the start of last season.

Reports began to emerge a few weeks ago about Lampard's position being in doubt, and it is unlikely he has done himself any favours by essentially conceding defeat in the title race.

"I don't think this is the first time I've been asked this, been asked this a few times in the last few weeks – after 16 unbeaten we lost two on the bounce and I was starting to be asked these questions, and I understand it," Lampard told reporters.

"It's the expectations of this club. Whether I think it's right or wrong… As I said pre-match, we are not in the position of a Chelsea that we were in periods when we were winning leagues.

"I took this job knowing that there will be difficult times because it's not a club ready to compete. We had a transfer ban, we had young players. Now we have new players and we can see that the new players, the younger players are striving for form, to be settled into this team.

"While everything was rosy in early-to-mid December, it's not so rosy now. We're not the only team to suffer that situation and I'm not the only manager to be put under this sort of pressure.

"The lucky thing for me is I'm good at handling the pressure. I don't like it, I want to win games, I want everyone to be talking about how we are moving towards the top of the table like we were a month ago, but the reality is, for me, I could sense these periods were coming and that's all I have to concern myself with, how to deal with them and get us out of it."

Frank Lampard is adamant he can handle the pressure that has come with Chelsea's slump in form, which continued with a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday.

Goals from Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison sent Leicester top of the Premier League, nine points clear of a Chelsea side that has now won just two of their last eight league games.

Lampard's team are five points adrift of the top four, with their 29 points the fewest Chelsea have had at the midway point of the season since 2015-16, when Leicester won the league and the Blues finished 10th.

Asked about his future at a post-match media conference, head coach Lampard said: "I can't control it. I've been asked before, I understand it, it's the expectations of this club.

"It's a developing team but I can't get caught up in the reaction. I took this job knowing we would have difficult times.

"We just have to fight. Where everything was rosy in mid-December, it isn't so rosy now. I am good at handling pressure."

Chelsea have taken seven points from a possible 24 since going top of the Premier League in December with a win over Leeds United.

On his side's form, Lampard told BBC Sport: "We were in a really good place in December, second in the league and two points from the top. Maybe complacency set it. There's only one way out of it which is hard work. Today Leicester were in better form than us.

"It is clearly concerning. It is a period we are not happy with, other clubs have been in that period. All we can think about is getting through the period, working hard. The important thing is the players bounce back. This is the cut-throat nature of what it is.

"The players have to keep their heads up but also keep their eyes open and review the game and see there was an energy in the Leicester team we didn't have.

"You cannot be sluggish and slow because it won't work against a team like Leicester that are firing."

Leicester are top after 19 games or more for the first time since they lifted the trophy in 2016, but Brendan Rodgers' focus is not on their status as potential title challengers.

"It is still too early. But it shows in the first part of the season consistency has been good and performance levels have been very high," Rodgers said to BBC Sport.

"This gives the belief to the players. It keeps the momentum going and keeps the concentration. In order to stay there at the top you need desire and hunger and I feel we have seen that from the team."

Frank Lampard stated Chelsea do not have players to compare to the calibre and experience of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa as he again sought to temper expectations around his youthful stars.

A 1-0 win over 10-man Fulham last weekend was the Blues' first three-point haul since before Christmas and they are seventh in a Premier League table they briefly topped early in December.

Throughout the subsequent slump, when critics have highlighted a moderate return on considerable transfer investment, Lampard has pointed to the fact the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner - the Germany duo who have underwhelmed since arriving for a combined cost in the region of £125million - and a host of other youngsters still have their best years ahead of them.

For now, though, he feels the elite winners from his own playing days at Stamford Bridge are something Chelsea lack and must work towards

"When you look at the Premier League going forward, around us, when people were sort of lauding us to be title challengers and stuff like that, we do have a squad when you look at the composition of it that is very young, particularly in the forward areas," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's match against third-placed Leicester City.

"We don't have that history of players: goal machines or assist machines or those things that win you games. With our team, it's potential.

"The club hasn't got an Eden Hazard contributing 50 per cent of goals and assists, it hasn't got a Costa scoring 30 goals.

"We're trying to develop those players and I believe in them strongly, but at the moment we're not quite there, where other teams around us possibly are at the front end of the pitch.

"I think for us, and I should just focus on us, there could be tough times. That's why it's important for me, and I've said this to the players, to keep working, but also to be patient and stay calm around that."

Another figure from the club's past, Brendan Rodgers, will be in the opposite dugout to Lampard at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester manager Rodgers was appointed to Chelsea's academy staff during Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge, although he infamously said he did not wish to "destroy" his career when touted as a possible replacement for Andre Villas Boas in 2012 while at Swansea City.

"I don't know, that's a difficult one, I've got to be careful with this one," Lampard replied when asked whether the Chelsea he leads is a more "nurturing" environment than the one Rodgers experienced.

"I don't want to speak for Brendan when he said that. I suppose at that time, there was a turnaround of managers. I was a player here, so I get that.

"Whether he would give the exact same answer tomorrow after the game, maybe not. For me, all I can do is tackle the job that's in front of me and at the moment we, as Chelsea, are not the Chelsea of when Brendan made those quotes.

"I'm presuming they were made at the time of Chelsea having [Didier] Drogba, [Petr] Cech, [John] Terry, I'm not going to name myself, [Claude] Makelele, whoever, and it would have been a team that was always challenging and the benchmark was different.

"At the moment, we're not a team that has Costa, [Cesc] Fabregas, Hazard, any of the era that came slightly after that.

"We're a team relying on players at the front end of the pitch [who] are clearly new to the Premier League, young to the Premier League."

Lampard was keen to highlight his pitch was not one for sympathy.

He added: "We've seen a couple of big clubs and big managers be questioned within one or two or three weeks, a couple of results this year.

"That's the modern world; I'm not crying about this because it's the Premier League, we all have different expectations, [and] if we're seen to not be getting to them, the pressure comes. That's why we're in this job."

Mason Mount can be an inspiration to Chelsea stars struggling for form, according to head coach Frank Lampard.

The England midfielder made the difference on Saturday as the Blues recorded just their second victory in seven Premier League games.

Mount struck the only goal in the 1-0 win over 10-man Fulham, a result that leaves them five points outside the top four.

The 22-year-old has mostly been in top form amid a mixed season for Chelsea, in which expensive signings such as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have failed to impress.

Lampard believes plenty in his squad could learn from Mount's example.

"I keep talking about him a lot, and his work ethic in training is one of those reasons, he keeps his standards high in training every day. There are things that other players can look at with Mason," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Leicester City.

"And at the same time it's clear when you're in a difficult patch individually or collectively you have to fight and play your way out of it, so you rely on players around you doing their job.

"Mason's doing it at the minute, but we've got lots of players like that in forward areas, we just need a kick-start from them, we need to see some numbers, production from the front end of the pitch.

"You look around the Premier League and you see teams that have been successful generally or in good runs have people at the top end of the pitch that are firing and scoring and assisting, and we've been a bit short of that recently, but it will come back.

"The players have to fight their way back through those little periods or patches, and at the moment Mason is a good example of someone that's always fighting, and is playing really well."

Lampard also dismissed any lingering critics of Mount, saying: "I'm not sure how anybody could really criticise him of late.

"Mason's type, the type of midfield player he is, he does so much great work for the team off the ball, which I think for the naked eye is not as exciting as an overhead kick or treble step-over.

"He does all those basics well, he moves the ball so quickly, he's a great team-mate, we've seen recently he scores goals, he finds assists, he does all those things so I don't think it matters if people are critical in any way.

"One thing he has got as well is a really great attitude. He has a really great way of seeming like he is never perturbed by critics outside. The critics are wrong. There is no doubt about that.

"Anyone who knows football and watches Mason Mount play understands what an incredible talent he is. He's just turned 22. Imagine when he's 25, imagine when he's 27. The critics don't matter when it comes to Mason."

The win at Fulham was another frustrating outing for Werner, who missed a clear-cut chance to make the points safe in the closing moments.

The former RB Leipzig striker has scored four times in 18 Premier League games and just once in his past 13 outings in all competitions, in the 4-0 FA Cup win over League Two side Morecambe.

Werner's struggles have seen him compared to Fernando Torres, who endured a difficult time at Stamford Bridge after moving from Liverpool, but Lampard said: "I don’t want to compare him to anybody.

"Everybody’s story is different. Fernando Torres had difficult times here and came away winning the Champions League so I don't think we should compare too much.

"All we need to do here at the moment, Timo, myself and team-mates around him, is to create the best environment to get the best out of Timo, which means himself working hard.

"Any striker knows – when you see the chances he missed the other day that's just repetition on the training ground. Everybody will go through those moments whether you repeat it a thousand times or not. But when you are in that moment you must repeat and keep working.

"He also needs support around him. He needs to keep his head up and focus and my job is to support around him and give him positivity and confidence. Timo Werner didn't by chance score the amount of goals of the last few seasons. He scored those goals because of his huge talent.

"A tough time for him at the moment is a small period in what I believe will be a fantastic career for him going forward at Chelsea. I've got no doubts about that. I hope people around him can also see it that way."

Frank Lampard understands Fikayo Tomori's desire to play more regularly amid speculation the centre-back could be set to follow Danny Drinkwater in sealing a move away from the club. 

Tomori made 15 Premier League starts in the 2019-20 season but the arrival of Thiago Silva has pushed him further down the first-team pecking order. 

The England international has featured only once in the top flight this campaign – coming on as substitute in the home defeat to Liverpool back in September – and Chelsea are seemingly ready to sanction a temporary move to allow him to get more regular first-team minutes elsewhere. 

Serie A leaders Milan have been strongly linked with the 23-year-old, media reports suggesting the Italian club are pushing to complete a deal that includes an option to buy. 

"Fikayo is a developing player. We can't play all our centre backs in one game," said Lampard. 

"This year we have five, so the predicament is difficult. He wants to play regularly and that's why he may go out on loan.  

"He has made big strides in the last two or three seasons." 

Meanwhile, Drinkwater has departed to join Kasimpasa on loan for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. 

The midfielder was signed by the Blues from Leicester City in August 2017, though he has featured sparingly during his time at Stamford Bridge. 

A key part of Claudio Ranieri's Leicester squad that won the league title in 2016, Drinkwater has made a total of 23 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions. 

His 2019-20 season included unproductive loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa, but now the 30-year-old will hope to kick-start his career during a temporary stint in Turkey. 

"It's great for Danny to leave to go and play for himself to get some games. I am trying to make sure the balance is right here," said Lampard. 

Kasimpasa sit 15th in the Super Lig table, six points above the relegation zone.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has expressed his delight at Mason Mount's performance against Fulham and Callum Hudson-Odoi's recent form.

Mount scored the winning goal in the Blues' narrow 1-0 victory at Fulham, who played more than half the match a man light following Antonee Robinson's sending off just before the break.

That goal was just the tip of the iceberg for Mount, who laid on a remarkable seven key passes – only three times in the Premier League this season has a player produced more in a single game.

Lampard was overjoyed with the England international's display and highlighted the midfielder's already considerable experience despite only just turning 22, before suggesting Mount is even playing at a higher level than he was at a similar stage of his career.

"I thought Mason's performance all round was fantastic," Lampard told reporters. "He has been very, very good for us in the past year, this year. He is a big example of why I talk about youth.

"Mason turned 22 years old last week, the age I came to Chelsea at. I wasn't blowing the world away in my first year or so, Mason already has so many games under his belt.

"Across out frontline, we've got; Christian Pulisic – similar age bracket, Kai Havertz – similar age bracket, Callum Hudson-Odoi – younger age bracket, Tammy [Abraham], Timo [Werner] – they're all young.

"But to go back to Mason, his effort, attitude and quality of play today was outstanding."

Hudson-Odoi was bright after coming off the bench in the final 15 minutes, though he was seemingly unfortunate not to start.

The winger endured a difficult 2020 due to fitness problems and a lack of form, but he is starting to show why he had been so highly rated in his teenage years.

In the past month, only Mount and Pulisic have created more Premier League chances than his six among Chelsea players, despite Hudson-Odoi playing just 176 minutes.

That means he is averaging 3.1 key passes per 90 minutes in that time – Mount (4.2) is the only other player with a tally of more than two, and Lampard has been impressed by the 20-year-old's attitude.

"There has been a real uplift in his form," Lampard added. "That's a sign of his development, he is coming on, going by people and showing confidence. And a lot of that will be down to the injury he had to get over last season.

"Hakim [Ziyech] obviously gives us something different and was outstanding when fit. Christian [Pulisic] is always a threat. When I have the three, there is one who maybe can't start the game, but they must then come on and impact the game. Generally, a winger is where you make your changes.

"Yes, I had Leicester in mind [when selecting the team] and we will see how players react in the next day or two. In this busy, busy period players will have to accept to be an impact player sometimes and then come in and start.

"For Callum, I am delighted with how he is playing at the minute and he is approaching it in the right way. He will get many, many minutes for us."

Frank Lampard is remaining patient amid Timo Werner's Premier League goal drought despite the striker missing a glorious chance late on in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Fulham.

Although Germany international Werner scored in the recent FA Cup win over Morecambe, he went into Saturday's match without a goal in his previous nine league games.

That was already his longest run without a goal since going 11 matches without netting in 2016.

He had a fine chance to finally end that difficult spell in the latter stages when he was put through on goal by Christian Pulisic, but he missed the target when one-on-one with Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Luckily for Chelsea and Lampard, the excellent Mason Mount had already netted what proved to be the winner.

Lampard put on a brave face for Werner at full-time, though he did not completely hide his disappointment.

When asked if he was worried about Werner's dry spell, Lampard told Sky Sports: "I think it's normal.

"If you don't score as regularly as you want – he scored last week in the FA Cup. Those are the goals I've seen him score many times, his bread and butter is going through like that and scoring.

"He has to keep on working, that's the only way out of it. We've all been there. If you're a goalscorer or striker, get back on the training pitch, be pleased that you're getting in there and go again.

"It will go in for him, because he's high quality. We're getting him in positions there when he came on, and he will score."

Chelsea's winner came 12 minutes from time, rather late in the day considering struggling Fulham were reduced to 10 men in the 44th minute when Antonee Robinson was sent off for a wild lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

But Lampard insists he had faith they would get the job done and he paid tribute to Mount, whose seven key passes in a single match has only been bettered three times in the Premier League this term.

"I trust in the quality of the players," he added. "Mason, I thought, was outstanding in the game anyway, so he deserves the accolades for how he played.

"I did have a feeling we were going to get the goal because it was constant pressure. It was just staying patient, staying quick with our passing, which I think we did.

"I changed it to bring Tammy [Abraham] on to get him and Oli [Olivier Giroud] up front. I wanted to bring Callum [Hudson-Odoi] on for his one-versus-one [abilities]. Callum could have deserved to start today, to be fair.

"It's not easy selections for me on that side of the pitch at the moment, so he added, Tammy added and Timo added, just disappointed he didn't get his goal.

"Mason was in a slightly deeper role at that point, but he arrived in the box. He needs to score more goals and he knows that, but his quality is brilliant and his attitude is brilliant."

Victory moved Chelsea up to seventh in the Premier League, and they are in action again on Tuesday as they go to Leicester City.

Mason Mount scored a late winner as Chelsea scraped to an unimpressive 1-0 win at a struggling Fulham side that played half the match a man light. 

Frank Lampard's side went into the match without a win in any of their three previous Premier League games, a run that had seen their coach come under increased pressure. Although they were able to end that streak, the performance was by no means vintage. 

Chelsea had the better of the first half but did not begin to exert genuine control until after Antonee Robinson's dismissal in the 44th minute left the Blues with a numerical advantage. 

They had great difficulty making the most of that sending off, but eventually Mount struck 12 minutes from time to move Chelsea back up to seventh in the table. 

Chelsea briefly appeared to find their groove when they created a flurry of chances in quick succession before the half-hour mark of the contest. 

Alphonse Areola had to be alert twice, saving from Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger either side of Mount striking the crossbar during what was a promising three-minute spell from the visitors. 

While that was not the start of a prolonged onslaught, Chelsea's chances were helped just before half-time when Robinson was shown a straight red for a wild tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta that completely missed the ball and sent the Spaniard flying. 

Despite having an extra man, Chelsea's chance creation frequency did not appear to increase, two of their better opportunities ultimately resulting in offside calls. 

A defensive calamity just past the hour then almost saw Chelsea fall behind, as Azpilicueta's poor pass forced Edouard Mendy to stretch and nudge the ball to Ivan Cavaleiro, but luckily Thiago Silva was in attendance to block his shot in front of an empty goal. 

Chelsea finally found a way through in the latter stages, Mount drilling a volley low past Areola after the Frenchman had diverted a left-wing cross right to him.

Frank Lampard has been impressed by the form of Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Fulham and insists the midfielder has a Chelsea future.

Loftus-Cheek caught the eye in Fulham's 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Wednesday, with Scott Parker's team now six matches unbeaten in all competitions.

Chelsea loaned Loftus-Cheek to their local rivals, who they face in the Premier League at Craven Cottage on Saturday, in October.

He has gone on to make 11 top-flight appearances with eight starts, exactly the run of games Chelsea boss Lampard wanted his player to have after missing over a year of action with an Achilles injury.

Lampard said: "He played well [against Tottenham] and I was really pleased to see that.

"I felt we missed Ruben last year. When he was getting fit, I was excited because I know the attributes he has and I wanted those attributes at the club.

"The conversations I had with him earlier on in the season were about him not feeling as sharp or as good as he wanted to be off the back of a really bad injury.

"So it was question of whether he could go and play games because he felt he would get regular game time elsewhere.

"Seeing him play recently, he is looking fit and fresh and strong. We know his obvious talents so it is great to see. 

"If he can keep that up hopefully through the season, and get back to exactly where he was and more, then I will be very happy and he will come back as our player for sure."

While Chelsea comfortably defeated Morecambe in the FA Cup last time out, they have not won in three Premier League matches and are ninth in the table.

Frank Lampard has revealed Chelsea will test out new goal celebrations in training after hugs, handshakes and high fives were reportedly banned by Premier League chiefs.

The Blues boss is supportive of new measures, which are designed to restrict contact and reduce the risk of COVID-19 contagion within football.

Premier League officials have been holding talks with managers and head coaches, plus a number of players, ahead of the weekend fixtures to emphasise the importance of following the protocols.

Lampard is concerned the new rules could lead to bookings or, in the case of second bookings, to red cards if players are penalised for celebrating.

The situation means players at Chelsea's Cobham headquarters will be looking at different ways of enjoying goals ahead of their clash with west London rivals Fulham on Saturday.

Asked if such experiments on the training pitch would be sensible, Lampard said in a news conference: "Yes, I agree.

"We practise social distancing as much as we can in the training ground. On the pitch it can be difficult at times because you have to train and get close to each other.

"In training, I suppose the instinct or the moment shouldn't grab you as much as it would do in games when you're scoring in the Premier League.

"It's something I'll pass on to the players."

Lampard said he was unaware of any moves by Chelsea to bring former head coach Avram Grant back to the club.

That has been reported as an option the club are considering, to bolster Lampard's coaching team after four defeats in six games in the Premier League.

"I don't know anything about it," Lampard said.

Timo Werner will become a Chelsea star but it could still "take time" before the goal-starved striker lights up the Premier League, according to Frank Lampard.

Blues boss Lampard has seen Werner fail to score in any of his last nine league games, which means he is mired in his longest drought in top-flight football since 2016 when he went 11 successive matches without finding the net.

On Saturday, Chelsea make the short trip to Fulham, and a Werner goal in the west London derby would come as a major relief to the German forward, his coach and Chelsea fans who may be questioning the investment in the former RB Leipzig man.

Werner struck 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga games last season, finishing second only to Robert Lewandowski (34 goals) in the scoring stakes.

Lampard hopes the time he has spent with Werner on the training pitch over the previous fortnight will pay off, with Chelsea having not had a Premier League game since their January 3 clash with Manchester City.

"I think his performances have been pretty good and I think they're going to get better," Lampard said in a news conference.

"I think it's going slightly unspoken about the fact that a lot players that come into this league are given time to come in and out of the team and feel their way. There are players who have come into the Liverpool team over recent years and have been given time to feel how the team plays.

"Clearly with Timo we didn't have that opportunity because of some injuries in certain positions and because we bought Timo and others to make an impact in our first team straight away.

"People have to be patient with the idea that we'll maximise Timo's talent in this team. That's a two-way street of Timo's work and our work as a group, and it will happen, but of course it can take time."

Werner, 24, has spent a large part of his Chelsea career in a wide role, which may not be the optimum way of using his strengths even if it was a position he often played for Leipzig.

Lampard is considering ways to tease the best out of the £47million man, aware he can fill various roles, and a goal in the FA Cup drubbing of minnows Morecambe last week was welcome.

"With Timo through the middle, it’s clearly an area of the pitch that he likes to start from," said Lampard.

"At Leipzig and with Germany, he's played centrally, he's played on the left, he's played as a lone striker, he's played as one of two strikers, so I see there's definitely room for manoeuvre in how you use Timo."

Werner has scored four Premier League goals in 17 appearances, also hitting the woodwork a league-high five times in his 40 shots.

Of all players with 40 or more shots, only Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (three goals from 54 shots) has scored fewer times this season.

Chelsea will be tackling a Fulham side who have drawn their last five Premier League games, matching the number of draws they had played out in their previous 45 matches in the top flight.

The Cottagers have won just one of 28 previous Premier League clashes with Chelsea, however, when Chris Coleman's side won 1-0 at home against Jose Mourinho's men in March 2006 – with Lampard in the beaten team that day.

Chelsea lost last time out in the Premier League, going down 3-1 to Pep Guardiola's City, and it was all the way back in 1993 when they last suffered defeats in consecutive league games at the beginning of a year.

Those losses came against City, coincidentally, and Nottingham Forest.

Lampard believes Fulham boss Scott Parker is doing "fantastically well" and said they "played very well" in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

"They're very well organised and have threats throughout their team," said Lampard.

Frank Lampard has warned it may be impossible to "dictate" the behaviour of footballers in the heat of battle as the Premier League pushes clubs to reduce COVID-19 risks.

League chiefs want to cut out all unnecessary contact, between players, reportedly including hugs, handshakes and high fives, all actions that are commonplace in goal celebrations.

However, Chelsea boss Lampard says players can only do their best, and the possibility of bookings, which could lead to red cards, is something he says would be "very difficult to police".

Speaking on Thursday in a news conference, Lampard said: "If you understand football and understand the passion and the instinct which every fan has, they understand it can bring our emotions in you.

"To control the emotions is a fair ask, but to dictate emotions I think would be probably very difficult on the pitch.

"As it goes along we'll see if players can control it - I hope they can."


There have been goal celebrations in games since it was first declared they should be avoided, and the Premier League is holding meetings with managers and players this week when it is expected to drive home the importance of the new guidance.

Coronavirus infections have caused a rash of game postponements in the league over recent weeks, with a number of clubs badly affected by the recent rising toll of infections.

Lampard said: "[At Chelsea] social distance is top of the list, all the basics are top of the list.

"But when you're putting a football on the pitch and there's a lot of instinct involved, then it's not always as easy to draw a clear line on the pitch as in training.

"We'll try to do the best as we are told to minimise the threat and the danger that we know this virus holds.

"We've been told that and there are meetings for today and tomorrow to probably reinforce that from the Premier League.

"I'll reinforce that to the players, but football has and always will be a game of instinct. And if we want to take the instinct out of the game, I think it's not that simple.

"Players are good lads and they don't want to do the wrong thing. They've been asked to do their job through this very tough time and they're doing it.

"When they're on the pitch and if they score a goal well try to adapt slightly, as well as we can. In a perfect world, we'll all walk back to the halfway line and just start again.

"But with football maybe it won't quite be the case. I don't think you can hold players hugely to account unless there's a clear flouting of those rules.

"If people can get booked, which means they can probably get sent off if it was a second yellow card, I think it'll be very difficult to police, with keeping the energy and the excitement that football brings.

"The players have been asked to not show natural instinct in a game - let’s see how it works."

Manchester City star Sergio Aguero is reportedly wanted by Barcelona.

Aguero's future at City is uncertain with the 32-year-old coming out of contract at the end of the season.

And the forward is unsurprisingly wanted by Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA WANT AGUERO

Barcelona are eyeing Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, according to The Sun.

Aguero has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain as City's all-time leading goalscorer entered the final six months of his contract.

The Argentina international has scored two goals in nine games this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Eric Garcia looks set to join the club from City. The cover of Mundo Deportivo says Garcia is poised to move to Barca in January in a deal worth €5million (£4.5m) plus variables.

- Also facing an uncertain future is Fernandinho. The Telegraph reports Fernandinho is undecided about his future, with the City man having offers from South America.

- Matteo Guendouzi is set to see out his loan spell at Hertha Berlin. Fabrizio Romano says the midfielder will not return to Arsenal in January, with the Bundesliga club wanting him to stay until season's end.

- Wolves seem unlikely to sign a forward in January. The Mirror claims they have aborted interested in Liverpool striker Divock Origi and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

- With Frank Lampard under pressure at the helm of Chelsea, help could be incoming. Sky Sports reports Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is considering bringing back former manager Avram Grant to work with Lampard.

Callum Hudson-Odoi once again impressed Frank Lampard as the winger pushed his case to play more regularly with a starring role in Chelsea's FA Cup triumph over Morecambe. 

The arrival of high-profile signings Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech during the previous transfer window increased competition for places in Chelsea's attack - and Hudson-Odoi has often found himself stuck on the fringes.

However, Lampard made room for all four players in his starting XI for Sunday's third-round tie at Stamford Bridge, with the hosts running out comfortable 4-0 winners.

Hudson-Odoi certainly seized his opportunity, scoring a goal and creating three chances. The England international completed 85.5 per cent of his passes and sent in seven crosses, four of which were rated as 'good' by Opta.

He has started just two Premier League games this season so far, though Lampard acknowledges the 20-year-old is doing everything right in his push to get consistent minutes.

"Callum is playing well. He's improving, he has improved and there is much more to come," the Chelsea boss told the media after the tie.

"For the goal today, it was a fantastic example of running and breaking the lines and ending up in the area like a striker, because that is what the modern winger does.

"He's making it [his case to get a run of games] now. Probably when fit, we have three natural wingers, maybe one or two others who can play in that position.

"There is always going to be times when I have to make decisions over selection, which means Callum might be in, or someone else may be in.

"But the way he is playing now absolutely at this minute means he's assisting, he scoring goals, he's a threat every time he plays. It makes me really happy, because today was definitely an uplift from Callum, there are more gears he can go through.

"He is another young player [at Chelsea] with a lot to come and we shouldn't expect too much, but when he's playing like he's playing now, it's good to expect more from him because he's showing a lot."

While Hudson-Odoi is pressing to feature for the first team, Fikayo Tomori could be on his way out of Chelsea.

The centre-back came on as a second-half substitute against Morecambe but Lampard confirmed afterwards that a loan move could happen in January - provided it is right for all parties.

On Tomori potentially leaving, Lampard said: "The situation is kind of open at the moment. There's a possibility he could go on loan to get games somewhere else.

"That would have to be the right solution for him and the club. It was part of my thinking in not starting him today, but giving him some minutes at the end. While we are looking at that, I want to make sure it's the right thing for him and the club.

"His attitude, while not playing so much recently with five or six centre-backs at the club, has been fantastic, in terms of working in training every day and how he is."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard hopes Kai Havertz and Timo Werner will gain confidence from scoring in the FA Cup win over Morecambe.

Werner ended a goal drought of 827 minutes with the home side's second in a 4-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Mason Mount having opened the scoring.

Havertz was involved in his fellow German's goal just before the break and went on to find the net himself against fourth-tier opposition, heading in a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta in the 85th minute.

The duo were part of a strong team selected by Lampard, who believes the big-money signings from the Bundesliga made a "nice little step" forward as they continue to adapt to life at Chelsea.

Discussing Werner, who had not scored for his club since a 4-1 win over Sheffield United on November 7, Lampard said: "I'm pleased for him.

"Strikers want to score goals and he's had plenty of near misses in those times. He's been getting in positions to score goals but they haven't been going in for him.

"I was pleased to play him today and get him confidence from scoring a goal. It wasn't easy, there wasn't space behind them because they defended so deep, but he gets his goal and moves onwards.

"It's important that we understand with both Timo and Kai that they are young lads coming into this league. Tough patches are normal coming into the Premier League - some of the greatest players that have graced it have found that at the beginning.

"That is a nice little step for both of them."

While Werner made way for Olivier Giroud in the 68th minute, Havertz played the full game, during which he completed 89 per cent of his attempted passes.

The former Bayer Leverkusen player also had two shots as he continues to build up his fitness after overcoming COVID-19, with Lampard insisting Chelsea fans must show some patience with the 21-year-old.

"There are numerous levels Kai can go up because of the potential of him as a player," Lampard told the media.

"Even in his short period at Chelsea he's been unfortunate in that he had COVID and suffered a bit in coming back from that.

"Today I saw him - and during the week in training too - looking stronger and fitter. There are levels to go up, but - again - we have to remain patient.

"He's come here with a huge amount of talent but has to get accustomed to the league, accustomed to the speed of the league, the pace of the league. We as a club must support him through that for the future, both him and Timo.

"It was a small step in a big picture, but a step made in a good way for both of them."

The victory means Chelsea have progressed in their third-round tie in every season since 1997-98, when they were eliminated by Manchester United.

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