Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg plans to rely on experienced players during his time in charge and is adamant a top-four finish in the Premier League should not be considered beyond them yet.

The Gunners travel to West Ham on Monday having not won any of their past nine matches in all competitions, with their most recent fixture a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

They have taken 19 points from 15 league games this season and are 10 points adrift of the Champions League spots, while Manchester United and Tottenham look considerably more fluent than the Gunners in their respective bids to reach the top four.

But Ljungberg, who replaced Unai Emery at the end of November, does not think Arsenal can be written off as top-four challengers yet.

"No, I don't think we should stop talking about the top four," Ljungberg told reporters.

"But for us it's to focus on what we're doing here now, not looking up, down, here, sideways [in terms of the table], we just need to work on our own game and our own confidence."

One element of Emery's tenure that did attract praise was his willingness to use the team's younger players, though Ljungberg is putting the onus on the squad's more experienced stars to taking a leading role in improving their position.

When asked whether he is building his team around Mesut Ozil, a player who found game time hard to come by under Emery, Ljungberg said: "Mesut is a very good footballer. When he's on the ball, he can do things, things happen, but we have a big squad, so I haven't said I'm going to build the squad [around] certain players.

"I wanted to play the experienced players [against Brighton] when it's such a difficult situation as it is at the moment.

"To put down all the younger players, [and expect them] to change the future of the football club [would not be fair], so I've made a conscious decision to put down the more experienced players to take that responsibility and change the games."

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

Paul Pogba remains on the sidelines but his club future is at the centre of the rumour mill.

According to a new report, Zinedine Zidane wants the Manchester United midfielder "at all costs".

Links between Pogba and Real Madrid have long been established, but it seems not all in the Spanish capital are keen on the move.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE WANTS TO POACH POGBA

Zidane views compatriot Pogba as "the final piece of the puzzle" for Madrid and has implored the club to secure his signature, reports Marca.

The Los Blancos boss reportedly made Pogba's arrival his only demand when he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March for a second stint as head coach.

However, Madrid executives are said to be sceptical about splashing at least €120million for a player who would potentially take a first-team spot from the improving Federico Valverde.

Zidane and Pogba had a "chance" encounter in Dubai in October, where the 26-year-old was undergoing warm-weather rehabilitation on his injured ankle.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have been impressed with Mauro Icardi and will look to tie the on-loan striker to a permanent deal, claims CalcioMercato. The Ligue 1 champions can reportedly land the Inter outcast for €70m.

- Arsenal, West Ham and any other Premier League teams aiming to appoint Rafael Benitez would have to pay £20m to release him from his Dalian Yifang contract, says the Daily Mail.

- Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo could pull the plug on a bid for Gabriel Barbosa after growing frustrated with the forward's reluctance to finalise the arrangement, according to Fox Sports Brazil. 'Gabigol' is on loan from Inter and reportedly coverts a second chance in Europe.

- CalcioMercato reports Milan are plotting to sign PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Jose Mourinho's Tottenham hope to capture Norwich City centre-back Ben Godfrey in January for around £25m, reports Football Insider.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Jose Mourinho made it two wins out of two as Tottenham manager while Chelsea suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time this season on a weekend of mixed fortunes at the top of the table.

Manchester City's failure to beat Newcastle United left them 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, who won again, but Leicester City's late winner against Everton kept them within eight points of Jurgen Klopp's title favourites.

With a packed December schedule looming for all Premier League clubs, maintaining the form and fitness of key players is even more vital than ever for those chasing honours.

The absence of one of the division's hottest marksmen hurt Chelsea while the return to form of a top playmaker gave Spurs a boost, as our Premier League Data Diary reveals.
 

BLUES FIRE BLANKS IN ABRAHAM'S ABSENCE

Tammy Abraham has scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season, but a hip injury ruled him out of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham on Saturday.

Frank Lampard's side started the game brightly, treating Stamford Bridge to the kind of spirited attacking football that has won them admirers across the country this season, but their 19 shots yielded nothing for the home crowd to celebrate.

Aaron Cresswell's third goal of the season made this his highest-scoring top-flight campaign to date and earned West Ham their first Premier League away win at Chelsea since September 2002, ending a run of 13 without a league victory at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard saw his side rally in the last 20 minutes following the introduction of N'Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi, but the Blues are yet to gain a single point from a losing position in the Premier League this season. This game became the fourth they have lost after falling behind.

VAN DIJK AT THE DOUBLE AS REDS SURVIVE LATE SCARE

Virgil van Dijk is up against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, and he tormented Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday as Liverpool won 2-1 at Anfield.

Netherlands international Van Dijk scored twice in six first-half minutes to become the highest scoring Premier League defender since the start of the 2018-19 season, with seven strikes, but the Reds endured a nervy end to the game as Brighton mounted a fightback.

Alisson became the first Liverpool goalkeeper to be sent off in a Premier League match since Doni against Blackburn Rovers in April 2012, and Lewis Dunk scored with 11 minutes left to tee up a frantic finish.

But Brighton failed to muster an equaliser and are now without a win in their past six Premier League away matches (D1 L5), while Liverpool have equalled their longest ever unbeaten top-flight run (W26 D5) by matching the 31 undefeated games achieved between May 1987 and March 1988.

ALLI REVIVAL FUELS BACK-TO-BACK WINS

Dele Alli's loss of form was among the problems Mauricio Pochettino failed to overcome before being sacked by Tottenham, but the England playmaker is bouncing back under Mourinho.

After assisting Son Heung-min's opener in a 3-2 win at West Ham a week earlier, Alli scored a brace as Spurs beat Bournemouth by the same scoreline, meaning he has been involved in three goals in two games under Mourinho - as many as in his last 12 league games for Pochettino.

While Mourinho has made a strong start at Spurs, helping the club register back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April, the fact his side have conceded four goals in two league games will have troubled him.

Tottenham conceded 20 shots against Bournemouth, who scored in the 73rd and 96th minutes - the exact timings of West Ham's strikes against Spurs a week prior.

The last time Spurs conceded as many shots against them in a Premier League home game was in September 2015, when Manchester City peppered their goal with 22 attempts.

SHELVEY STRIKE STALLS CITY'S TITLE CHARGE

Kevin De Bruyne's stunner looked to have earned City a victory over Newcastle, but Jonjo Shelvey ultimately had the final say.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in each of their past four home league games against reigning top-flight champions, winning two and drawing two, for the first time since a run of five ending in February 2003.

Of players with at least 15 Premier League goals, only David Ginola (66.7 per cent) and Laurent Robert (65.2 per cent) have scored a higher ratio from outside the box than Shelvey, who has netted 11 of his 17 top-flight goals from that range.

Miguel Almiron assisted Jetro Willems' equaliser after Raheem Sterling had put City ahead at St James' Park – the first assist the Paraguayan has registered from what was his 23rd chance created in the Premier League.

City have found the net in each of their past 22 Premier League games against Newcastle – their joint-longest such run in the competition – yet De Bruyne's sensational strike, his sixth goal involvement in six league appearances against the Magpies, was not enough to clinch victory.

Frank Lampard wants to see "a bit of character" as his side aim to bounce back from a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham, while he refused to blame Tammy Abraham's injury for the result.

Abraham missed the game after suffering a hip injury in Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Valencia on Wednesday, and Olivier Giroud took his place in the starting line-up against West Ham.

Lampard also dropped N'Golo Kante to the bench and watched as West Ham exploited large gaps in the midfield to pick up their first win in eight Premier League matches.

Chelsea will face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in midweek before travelling to Goodison Park to play Everton on Saturday, and Lampard indicated he would not make knee-jerk reactions to his side's second home defeat of the league season.

"It can't be one player," Lampard told reporters when asked about the importance of Abraham's injury.

"We arrived back late [from Valencia] and I had to think about how we think about it going forward. We aren't going to get through the season with just 10 or 11 players.

"I think the team out there had enough quality to win this game. There haven't been many times I have said we were below par, hardly at all. Today was one of those days.

"But I don’t think it is time for harsh reactions and judgements across individuals or the team as I see it. It is time for a look at a bit of character to see our reaction against Aston Villa."

Manuel Pellegrini said the result vindicated his decision not to change West Ham's style of play despite their dreadful run of form in the lead up to the game.

The Hammers arrived at Stamford Bridge without a win since September 22, and Pellegrini's future at the club had been the subject of media speculation.

He reflected on a difficult two months, saying: "When you don't win, you are a beast, and when you do, you are a genius.

"I was more worried to convince the players. We know we are not getting the results, but we cannot change the style and must not believe everything we are doing is wrong.

"We were consistent and solid throughout the whole game. But we didn't come here to try to draw. That's the way that this team must play."

David Martin said his father Alvin was in tears as the West Ham legend celebrated his son's Premier League debut in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The 33-year-old goalkeeper made a string of crucial saves to help the Hammers end a seven-game winless streak and he admitted the experience of keeping a clean sheet in the top flight of English football was a surreal experience.

Martin, who previously represented teams such as Leicester City, Milton Keynes Dons and Millwall, joined the Hammers in June as cover for Lukasz Fabianski and Roberto.

His father Alvin, who captained West Ham to their highest-ever league finish in 1986, was in the stands at Stamford Bridge and David Martin revealed emotions were running high at the final whistle.

"We were both in tears and didn't actually say a lot," David Martin told reporters.

"But for my dad to see that here, for a club where he played for 21 years, on my debut and I kept a clean sheet and to get the win for the boys, it's just a fantastic feeling.

"I'm 33 now, I've had a decent career, played quite a few games, but it still can't prepare you coming into this game. I've been struggling to eat for two days! 

"It still doesn't feel real. I'm pleased I got through it and didn't let anyone down. I did actually enjoy it in the end which I didn't think I would do."

West Ham goalscorer Aaron Cresswell heaped praise on his team-mate for helping the club pick up their first away win since August.

"I'm delighted for Dave," said Cresswell. "He's gotten his chance and taken it and I couldn't be more proud of him.

"When he joined the club, Dave will tell you he wasn't expected to play but he's come in every day and he's the hardest worker we've got.

"We haven't had a good run in seven or eight games but that's West Ham - we find it the hard way. We came to Stamford Bridge as underdogs and we couldn't be more delighted."

Liverpool remain on course for a first ever Premier League title after a nervy 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, while Manchester City could only manage a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Jurgen Klopp's side endured a tense finish at Anfield after goalkeeper Alisson was dismissed with 14 minutes remaining, but they held on for a 13th win in 14 games this season.

City, meanwhile, were far from their fluid best at St James' Park and were denied a vital win by Jonjo Shelvey's superb late strike.

Jose Mourinho racked up a second consecutive Premier League win since taking over at Tottenham, Dele Alli proving to be the star man in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

REDS SURVIVE ALISSON RED CARD

Runaway leaders Liverpool survived a nervy finale to equal their longest unbeaten run in the top flight and capitalise on City's slip-up.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick set up the opener for Van Dijk in the 18th minute and the same combination soon provided a second goal as Brighton were found wanting at a corner.

Brighton were given an unexpected lifeline when Alisson was sent off for handling outside his box – meaning he will miss Wednesday's derby clash with Everton – and Lewis Dunk caught out replacement goalkeeper Adrian with a quick free-kick.

The Seagulls could not find a late equaliser, though, and while Leicester City can cut Liverpool's advantage at the summit to eight points by beating Everton on Sunday, there looks to be no stopping a team who have now gone 31 league games unbeaten, matching their record streak from May 1987 to March 1988.

CITY'S TITLE HOPES SLIP AWAY

City's hopes of claiming a third consecutive Premier League title suffered a fresh blow, with Shelvey's late intervention leaving them 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's side looked set to cruise to all three points when Raheem Sterling scored his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign midway through the first half, but they were pegged back by Jetro Willems' fierce drive three minutes later.

Kevin De Bruyne restored City's lead with a sumptuous half-volley in the 82nd minute, the Belgium international using his chest to control a headed clearance before unleashing a stunning effort that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Newcastle bounced back in style to ensure a share of the spoils two minutes from time, though, when Shelvey whipped home from 25 yards after Christian Atsu had picked him out with a short free-kick.

MOURINHO'S PERFECT START CONTINUES

Tottenham beat West Ham and Olympiacos in Mourinho's first two matches and were good value for their latest triumph at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite another late collapse.

The hosts made a slow start but took the lead midway through the opening period through Alli, who slotted the ball underneath Aaron Ramsdale after being teed up by Son Heung-min's first-time pass.

The England international scored a second early in the second half before Moussa Sissoko added a third with his first league goal in his past 69 appearances.

Harry Wilson pulled two goals back for Bournemouth in the closing stages - one of which was a superb free-kick - but Tottenham held on for back-to-back league wins for the first time since April to climb to fifth, six points off a Champions League place.

PRESSURE EASES ON PELLEGRINI AFTER FINE WIN

Aaron Cresswell scored the only goal of the game as West Ham eased the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini and ended their seven-game Premier League winless streak at Chelsea.

The Hammers became only the second side to win at Chelsea in the league this season and Frank Lampard's side, who lost at Manchester City a week prior, could have few complaints about the result.

Cresswell scored the winner early in the second half and West Ham could have extended their lead before surviving a late rally from the hosts to secure their first victory since they beat Manchester United on September 22.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor courtesy of goals from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Aaron Cresswell scored a goal any full-back would be proud of as West Ham ended their seven-game Premier League winless streak by beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Hammers became only the second side to win at Chelsea in the league this season and Frank Lampard's side, who lost at Manchester City a week prior, could have few complaints about the result.

With Tammy Abraham sidelined and N'Golo Kante among the substitutes, Chelsea lacked a cutting edge in attack and guile in midfield as West Ham's Mark Noble and Declan Rice were given the run of the park.

Cresswell scored the winner early in the second half and West Ham could have extended their lead before surviving a late rally from the hosts to secure their first victory since they beat Manchester United on September 22 and provide a lift to under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Mason Mount drove Chelsea forward, surging through midfield with the ball at his feet, and he almost opened the scoring from the edge of the box but slipped as he struck a left-footed drive into the body of David Martin.

Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma both fired wide from close range but Chelsea's defensive frailties were in evidence when Robert Snodgrass was given time and space to whip in a cross that Michail Antonio headed into Kepa Arrizabalaga's hands with the goal at his mercy.

Olivier Giroud had the chance to open the scoring three minutes from half-time when Martin parried Mateo Kovacic's shot into his path but the France international's attempt to flick it over the goalkeeper from point-blank range failed miserably, and Pulisic missed blazed over the crossbar just before the interval.

Three minutes into the second half West Ham exploited the ample space afforded to them in Chelsea's half when Pablo Fornals fed Cresswell, who skilfully cut inside Reece James and curled a shot with his weaker right foot into the far corner of the net with Kepa at full stretch.

Kepa had to be alert to save Fabian Balbuena's powerful header just before the hour mark and Antonio had the ball in the net 10 minutes later only for his bundled effort to be ruled out for handball.

Chelsea only began to show the kind of urgency the situation required when Lampard sent on Callum Hudson-Odoi, whose nimble feet on the left wing caused havoc but failed to create a clear chance as the visitors clung on.

What does it mean? No Tammy no whammy

With Abraham sidelined by a hip injury, Chelsea's dynamism in attack amounted to little and West Ham could have scored more against a team that has kept just one clean sheet in eight matches.

The Blues are fourth and with now a six-point gap to Tottenham in fifth.

Snodgrass exploits the gaps

With Kante on the bench to begin with, Chelsea were vulnerable just in front of their back four and it was the experienced Snodgrass who helped West Ham capitalise with his vision and distribution, the Scotland international starting the move that led to Cresswell's opener.

Giroud draws a blank

Lampard looked to Giroud for goal threat and got nothing of the sort, the World Cup-winning striker swinging and missing with what little service came his way.

What's next?

Chelsea are back at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday when Aston Villa are the visitors, while the Hammers are on the road again as they travel to Wolves.

Freddie Ljungberg's spell as Arsenal interim head coach starts away at Norwich City on Sunday.

If the Swede gets his wish, it will be the humble beginning of a long-term tenure.

The Gunners are reportedly receptive to the idea of keeping him in the dugout, at least until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – LJUNGBERG KEEN ON LONG-TERM ARSENAL CHANCE

Could rookie coach Freddie Ljungberg go from hugging the touchline at Highbury to patrolling it permanently at Emirates Stadium?

According to The Guardian, the 42-year-old is determined to prove he should succeed Unai Emery at Arsenal on a full-time basis.

Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are among the many men linked with the role, although club chiefs are reportedly prepared to let Ljungberg stay on for the remainder of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in the Premier League and Wolves will fight "tooth and nail" to keep Arsenal coaching contender Nuno Espirito Santo, says the Daily Mail.

- Inter have been linked with a South American double swoop. Antonio Conte wants more depth and the Serie A side are keen on Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and promising River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta, reports La Repubblica.

- Edinson Cavani knows a contract extension will not be forthcoming but the striker wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season, according to Le Parisien.

- West Ham CEO Karen Brady expressed her support of under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini in The Sun, although the Daily Mail reports he has just two games to save his job.

- Anything less than victory against Hertha Berlin on Saturday will likely spell the end for Lucien Favre at Borussia Dortmund, says Sky Sport Germany.

Frank Lampard's decision to leave Chelsea as a player has helped him as a manager, according to West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Lampard has overseen a decent start to the season for Chelsea, who are fourth in the Premier League ahead of Saturday's clash against West Ham.

Pellegrini was in charge of Manchester City for Lampard's only campaign at the club in 2014-15 after the former England international decided to end a 13-season stay at Stamford Bridge.

The Chilean, whose team are just three points clear of the relegation zone, said that decision was a good one for Lampard.

"When you want to be a manager you must want to learn as much as you can," Pellegrini told reporters.

"During your career as a player, you see different people who manage the club in different ways and play different football. You can win titles in a number of different ways, and you choose one of those.

"For Frank Lampard, it was a very good experience for his career not to have been always at Chelsea. I know he started with West Ham, but for the most part of his professional career he was at Chelsea.

"To go to Manchester City, to see another way of playing football, that helped him to improve as a manager and I'm very happy for him.

"Every player tries to learn from the way you work. Of course, [as a player] you are always talking with different players, but I think you learn more from seeing."

Lampard said he had taken plenty from managers, including Pellegrini, later in his career.

"As I got older as a player I was probably more attentive of a manager's nature and things they said, how they held meetings and things like that," he said, via The Telegraph.

"It was always something you put into the bank and think, well, that could be how I want to do it or not."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says it is a "shame" Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal after giving his all for the club.

Arsenal announced the 48-year-old's exit on Friday following a seven-match winless run that culminated in Thursday's 2-1 Europa League home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Emery, who lasted just 18 months in the job after succeeding long-serving boss Arsene Wenger, leaves Arsenal eight points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea in the Premier League.

Lampard is sad to see the Spaniard depart but accepts it is part of being a coach.

"I wouldn't say it was inevitable, because nothing's inevitable in football," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"We're used to a few surprises, especially in the last few weeks. It's not nice. I know the job, I work hard here and everyone wants to be successful. 

"You have a work ethic and an idea, and it doesn't always go the way you want it, and clubs then make a decision. We're all in that category.

"It's a shame because from the outside he looks like a man who gave everything in the role, but now he moves on."

Chelsea's next opponents West Ham are also reportedly considering a managerial change, with Manuel Pellegrini under increasing pressure ahead of Saturday's London derby.

Defeat at Stamford Bridge could spell the end of Pellegrini's tenure, but Lampard insists he will not be any less determined to pick up three points this weekend.

"We all know the ruthless nature of the game now," he said. "Every team, every group of fans, the owner, everybody wants their team to be successful at all times.

"Individually, I understood the ruthless nature of the job being a player and now even more as a manager.

"I will just do my job. West Ham have good individuals, a good team and a good manager. It's a London derby and we have to be ready for them."

Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea's back-up strikers can step up in the absence of the injured Tammy Abraham. 

Abraham hobbled off in the first half of Wednesday's 2-2 Champions League draw with Valencia after a collision left him clutching his left side, before he was then taken away on a stretcher.

The England international attempted to play down the extent of his injury immediately after the match, but it has been confirmed he will play no part in Saturday's visit of West Ham.

Providing an update at his pre-match news conference on Friday, head coach Lampard said: "He's got some pain, so won't be involved tomorrow and then we'll see by Monday."

Abraham has scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League games this season, compared to a combined one goal in 12 appearances for Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud - although they only have one top-flight start between them.

However, Lampard is backing the duo to show what they can do while Abraham is sidelined.

"It's a squad game over the course of the season," he said. "The lads have been training well no matter how many minutes they're getting. 

"Every day is a work day so when opportunities come they're ready, so I've got all confidence in them."

Pushed on whether Batshuayi will start against out-of-form West Ham, Lampard added: "We'll see.

"It's not easy when you are not playing as many minutes as you want. I have seen a great work ethic and he has quality. It is great to see."

Chelsea have conceded 32 goals in 21 matches this season, with Valencia the latest side to take advantage of the Blues' slack defending in the midweek draw at the Mestalla.

Lampard has reiterated he has no concerns about his backline, however, especially with Antonio Rudiger closing in on a return to action.

"Antonio is getting closer. He is working very hard and it's like a mini pre-season for him now," Lampard said.

"I didn't like our defending in the final 20 minutes against Valencia, but overall I'm not concerned about the defence. We have conceded more than we would have liked.

"In the Premier League you are going to concede goals. There is always room for improvement. We are okay, but we want more."

Manuel Pellegrini is not overly concerned by "noise" around his West Ham future, preferring to focus on their next Premier League match against Chelsea.

West Ham's encouraging start to the 2019-20 season has long since been forgotten, with Pellegrini's men winless in eight across all competitions, losing their past three league matches and conceding three goals in each.

A miserable run leaves the Hammers one place and three points outside the relegation zone, with pressure quickly building on Pellegrini.

The former Manchester City boss is one of several Premier League managers reportedly on the brink, as David Moyes - also linked with Everton - has been mooted for a potential return to London Stadium.

Addressing the media ahead of a tough trip to Chelsea this weekend, it was put to Pellegrini that the West Ham board could not be happy and "noise" was growing.

The West Ham coach offered a spiky response, telling reporters: "They can't be [happy]? You think that someone can't be happy?

"You are telling me they can't be happy when we aren't winning? You are telling me that? There is always noise around every club that is not winning."

Pellegrini would not be pushed further on his future, adding: "We never talk about the future. We must be very clear with what we do. This is game by game. It's the same answer as when we were winning.

"Football changes every game, so we are working to beat Chelsea and improve. I never think about the future, always about the present."

One key area of concern for West Ham in recent weeks has been the form of goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez, who has been hapless in place of injured star Lukasz Fabianski.

Pellegrini insisted on Thursday that Fabianski would not recover from his hip problem in time to return before Christmas, although he said West Ham "will see" about a change in goal.

David Martin, signed from rivals Millwall in the close-season, would appear the obvious alternative, but Pellegrini still refused to criticise Roberto.

"I am not talking about just the goalkeeper," he said. "Every time you must decide your starting XI, you have the complete week to work with them, with your staff, to talk about different options.

"There's positives and negatives. So, we will do exactly the same as we have done every week."

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