Chelsea boss Frank Lampard claims his side are now the underdogs to secure automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League after a quiet January transfer window.
Edinson Cavani, Dries Mertens and Timo Werner were all tipped at some point to make the move to Stamford Bridge but the Blues missed out to leave them with the same squad they started the window with.
“From my view – and this is not to talk ourselves down, because we’re six points clear in fourth – now we become probably the underdogs and the outsiders to some point, because teams have strengthened around us,” Lampard said according to Sky Sports.
“It’s a fact. The reality of the fact is that we’ve not done business here, for whatever reason.
“That’s the transfer window, but if I’m looking at it with my business head on and looking around us in the table, Manchester United obviously have signed a big, world-class player in my opinion.
“And the teams around us, Sheffield United have made some fantastic signings, Chris Wilder’s job is incredible because he’s had years to work with that group and now they are adding where they see that they need to.
“Tottenham have signed a few, and again, they are not far behind us.”
Spurs have had an active January, signing Giovani Lo Celso, Gedson Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn but also selling Christian Eriksen whose contract expired in the summer, something which Lampard believes was a good decision.
“And not only have they signed a few but a couple of players have left, not being too crude about it, but they were coming towards the end of their contracts and weren’t happy being at the club any more.
“And that’s sometimes as important as bringing players in, that you can change the feeling of the group, if players are not willing to be there.
“So I think that’s smart business on their part, and now what remains to be seen will be seen.”
Despite the Blues’ lack of business, Lampard was asked whether he would prefer no signings to poor signings.
“Yes. Absolutely,” the Chelsea boss replied. “A lot of names get bandied around towards the end of the window.
“The reality is I have an idea of where I want to get to. And I don’t think any knee-jerk reaction from myself or the club would have been positive either.
“I want to work towards a longer-term plan and have trust in that.”
Chelsea travel to Leicester in the early kick-off in the Premier League.