Chelsea manager Frank Lampard responds to Man City avoiding Champions League ban
Frank Lampard has played down the impact of Manchester City’s court win as Chelsea seek to earn qualification for next season’s Champions League.
The overturning of Man City’s European ban means Chelsea no longer have the insurance policy of fifth place in the Premier League possibly being enough for them to sneak into the competition.
Coupled with their 3-0 humiliation at Sheffield United at the weekend, the Blues can now expect a nerve-shredding finale to the domestic campaign.
With fixtures against Norwich, champions Liverpool and Europa League contenders Wolves still to come in the league, Lampard said he remained focused on fighting his own club’s battles.
Speaking ahead of Norwich’s visit to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the manager was at pains to insist he had not been following Man City’s case closely.
Lampard said: "I was pretty neutral on it. I don’t know much about the case or the details. I just listened to the result as everyone else did this morning.
“I genuinely don’t see beyond the games at hand. We want to win them and see if it gets us Champions League football for next season.
“I was never pinning my hopes on whether it would mean an extra team got into the Champions League. We don’t worry about other teams.”
Man City overtook Chelsea as the financial powerhouse of the Premier League in the last decade but UEFA accused the Abu Dhabi-owned club of “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play between 2012 and 2016 after seeing leaked documents.
However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Monday that some of the most serious allegations could not be proved and reduced Man City’s sanction to a £9million fine.
Meanwhile, with three rounds of matches to go, Chelsea must now stay ahead of at least one of Leicester City or Manchester United to secure a place in the 2020/21 Champions League.
The Blues are one point up on Leicester and two above United, but the Red Devils have a game in hand against Southampton on Monday night.
Lampard, who confirmed that N’Golo Kante is ruled out of the Norwich fixture due to a hamstring injury, said the season has reached its climax.
“My only concern is the games ahead,” he said. “We’re at a critical stage of the season. Norwich tomorrow, then Liverpool and Wolves in the league.
“We know what’s in front us. We know the capability we have in the squad.
“We have shown this season at lots of different points the reason why we’ve got into third. Now we need to try to finish the job.”
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