Frank Lampard insists the Barclays Premier League is stronger than ever as Chelsea stand on the brink of winning the title for the first time since 2006.
The Blues vice-captain rejects suggestions the league is not as strong as in previous years as they prepare to face Wigan at Stamford Bridge. A win for Chelsea, who head the table over Manchester United by a single point, will guarantee them the title in Carlo Ancelotti's first season as coach.
"This is the position we wanted to be in," said Lampard. "Some people have said the league has gone downhill but I don't think it has."
He added: "The league has improved because the teams in the middle of the table and down the bottom have been fighting even harder and are more organised.
"It has proved more difficult for the bigger teams to win regularly week in, week out, and if we can win one more game it will be a big achievement to win it this year due to circumstances.
"To win the league you can never have it smooth and there are not many seasons when it is plain sailing all the way through.
"You are fighting against big teams in Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and others and there are times you have to stay strong. In the moments when we were down this season we have stayed strong."
Watching Sir Alex Ferguson's side take the trophy three times in a row only increased Lampard's desire to win the trophy again.
"Credit to them, they deserved to win it in recent seasons," said Lampard. "We are there to battle with them and we have been in touching distance. I was very proud of winning the league twice, particularly the first time because of all the years Chelsea had gone without it.
"It was a huge thing to be part of that group but if we can go and win the Double it will be right up there with that because not many clubs have done it in history."
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