Frank Lampard will not judge his Chelsea players on one game as they prepare to face Manchester City, and admitted the Blues would need to defend well at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea go into their clash with the champions on Saturday having won six Premier League matches in a row, and only Manchester United have beaten Lampard’s men on the road this season, with that defeat coming on the opening weekend back in August.
Since then Chelsea have lost only to league leaders Liverpool, and City are still smarting from their 3-1 defeat to the Reds before the international break.
Lampard described City and Liverpool as having set the standard for his players to aspire to but said he would not be tearing up the gameplan that has been working well for him in recent weeks.
“We are playing Man City and I’m not going to judge us right now on that one game,” Lampard told Sky Sports.
“I will judge us over what we’ve done until now, how we keep improving, how we work and where we go over a bigger period.
“We know that when you go to Man City or any of these big teams that you can lose, but what you must do is give everything and not roll over, no matter what happens, and you must fight until the end and give everything you can as a team.
“We won’t change our plan hugely. Some people ask if we’re going to go there and defend or can we go and attack but you’re going to have to defend, it’s all about how well you do it and it’s going to be a huge part of the game.”
Third-placed Chelsea are a point clear of City in the table and Lampard’s men have been scoring freely, but the Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League away games against Pep Guardiola’s men.
Lampard has a number of players in fine form, with Christian Pulisic having scored five goals in his last three league games, and the Chelsea boss said he feels no need to play down his players’ achievements thus far.
“There’s a balance to it for me and one thing is that we’re playing well,” said Lampard. “I don’t want to hide that from the players and double bluff them – they are playing well and they should know that.
“But the other thing is, when you come up against these teams, you don’t know if you’re going to be judged at the end of the season on these games because there are 38 matches in a season and we want to win a huge majority of them.
“But you do know that when you come up against them head to head, the level of detail and the finer moments of the game will be the deciding factor.”