Frank Lampard called on his Chelsea players to draw inspiration from the work that has gone into building Manchester City’s treble challenge when the teams meet at the Etihad on Sunday.
City will retain the Premier League title and land the first of the three trophies they are chasing this season with victory over Lampard’s side, and could already be champions by the time they kick-off depending on Arsenal’s result on Saturday.
It will be the fifth time in six seasons that Pep Guardiola has guided his team to the title, with a second Champions League final in three years to come against Inter Milan plus the FA Cup final against Manchester United as they seek an historic finale to the campaign.
City’s scintillating form was encapsulated by their 4-0 demolition of European champions Real Madrid on Wednesday, a 17th win in their last 19 games.
Chelsea by contrast are adrift in 11th place in the league, are long since out of all three cup competitions and are all but guaranteed to record their first bottom-half finish since 1996.
They have fallen woefully short of expectations following co-owner Todd Boehly’s whirlwind £600million transfer spend over the last 12 months, and if as expected Mauricio Pochettino is appointed permanent manager in the coming days he will have a mammoth task next season to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Lampard said it is City’s hard work and not their lifting of the Premier League trophy that should galvanise Chelsea’s players to bounce back next season.
“You should definitely be respectful on the day of the game,” said Lampard. “But the only inspiration the young players should need is what it’s taken Man City to get where they’ve got.
“It’s not the moment of lifting the cup, it’s Kevin De Bruyne’s journey, and (Erling) Haaland’s journey, and (Ilkay) Gundogan’s journey, and John Stones’ journey.
“A player has to understand that the cup-lifting moments are because of all the work done over the years against the odds, whatever it is, how hard they work. That team clearly works hard and then when one has to stop working hard the next one steps in and works hard. That’s what the players have to understand.
“I think the trophy lift is one to be respectful of but understanding why they’re lifting trophies is the real thing the players need to see.”
Lampard said that he had watched the documentary series The Last Dance, about NBA side Chicago Bulls’ success in the 1990s, in preparation for Chelsea’s final games of the season.
The interim manager, who will stand down following the team’s final game of the season against Newcastle on May 28, hopes to transmit the series’ message to his players that hard work and moments of failure are a necessary precursor to success.
“They have to take it (the importance of work behind the scenes) on board, and I have been drumming it in,” said Lampard.
“It depends on if the players want to listen to it. Because the reality is, in the corridors (of Cobham) it’s the team lifting trophies over the last 20 years and before that.
“Any group that lifts trophies has to understand what standards are and how you push and what you do, and that the weekend is a culmination of everything you do through the week, from how you prepare, how you train, that you train at a level that then transfers onto the pitch.
“To get that collectively right is why there are so many pictures of trophies on the wall.
“The main thing now, the tactics and the finer details are not relevant to that first bit. The first bit has to be there is a group pushing each other in training every day and doing all these things. Then the next bit is the tactics and the details on top of that.
“There’s a lot of failure on the way to success. I think that’s the thing that a player in the modern day has to listen to, not casually but to actually listen to it and act upon it.”