Frank Lampard has corrected the assumption that he had a free hit with Chelsea last season.
The Blues legend returned to Stamford Bridge as boss last summer and was immediately hampered by a transfer ban.
It meant Lampard was unable to draft any new players into the club during the summer window. The embargo was lifted in time for the winter transfer window, but Chelsea kept their powder dry.
Instead they have made a £200m-plus splurge in the market this summer with the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell swelling his squad.
Lampard has admitted that the stakes have been raised this season after publicly playing down Chelsea’s top four hopes last term.
The Blues subsequently went on to make the top four and looked like finishing third until Man Utd pipped them on the final day.
But Lampard has claimed the pressure was always on, despite the transfer embargo.
Lampard told a press conference: “I am surprised if you didn’t think I wasn’t under pressure last season. I thrive off the pressures. It’s what I love doing.
“I didn’t come in the job to fight for fourth place or bring academy players in, I came here to win. Last year we couldn’t recruit and this year the club have made the decision to bring in players. It changes the landscape and we’re ready to work.
“The pressure on me to do better should be standard. I don’t want to talk about statements.
“Last year we were very happy for Champions League places, we were very joined up in the business we wanted to do. The work starts now.
“It’s been a bit of a broken pre-season, but you have to work hard very quickly.”
Chelsea’s spending has seen them mentioned in some quarters as the side most likely to challenge Liverpool and Man City for the Premier League title.
“I’m not interested in what other people say about that. We finished a lot of points behind and we have to close the gap and build confidence. “I am not making predictions,” added Lampard.
“I understand that and I hope Chelsea fans are excited because we have brought in high level of players. But I know what it takes to win the Premier League. City and Liverpool have run over a few years.
“I hope we will improve. We know expectations are there, but we want to improve and not get ahead of ourselves.”
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