Chelsea star Frank Lampard has warned his team-mates that it would be a “disaster” if the club don’t qualify for next seasons Champions League.
The Blues looked like runaway Premier League winners earlier in the season, picking off any side thrown in front of them, and scoring plenty of goals in the process.
However, in the last three months the reigning Premier League champions have looked jaded, lacking ideas, and a shadow of their former selves, and currently trail league leaders Manchester United by 12 points.
Furthermore, whilst England international Lampard admits that the FA Cup and Champions League are high on the agenda – they meet Everton in a fourth round replay tomorrow before taking on Copenhagen in Europe three days later – he denied that they have taken priority over the league.
Speaking to BBC Sport at the launch of the England Footballers Foundation Lampard said: “We must finish in the top four and can never take our eye off the ball, it would be a disaster if we didn’t qualify.”
“There’s huge importance because you can see the league’s going to be difficult and that means it’s more important to reach finals.”
Lampard has struggled for injuries this season, and that has been pointed out as one reason for Chelsea’s stumbling league form, but the 32-year-old believes the sides inconsistent form has been down to a number of factors.
“We haven’t performed as well, there’s been injuries, and some unsettling moments, but if you don’t perform you fall behind in the title race and that’s the reason really.”