Frank Lampard happy to be in spotlight
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has admitted he missed the buzz of being involved in the race to land the game's top honours, after a couple of years that saw the west London club fighting for less glamorous prizes at this stage of the season.
While Europa League victory was a decent consolation prize in a relatively disappointing campaign for Chelsea last time around, multiple trophy winner Lampard is determined to add to his trophy haul before his time at the club ends.
Lampard, who was heavily linked with a summer move to the Los Angeles Galaxy in British newspapers earlier this week, has been in fine form for Jose Mourinho's Premier League leaders of late and he is revelling in their success as he closes in on his 36th birthday.
"It's great to be in this position," Lampard told reporters. "We've had a couple of years off the pace, finishing short. It's great to be back in the race and to feel that around the club, to feel we're fighting for the title rather than fighting for fourth place.
"I'm confident we can do it. That desire to keep winning because you are fighting for the title, rather than fourth place, feels good."
Next Saturday's clash with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge could be a defining fixture for both clubs in their Premier League title bids, with Lampard refusing to join his manager in describing Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as 'a specialist in failure' as he prepares for his 1,000th game in charge of the club.
"Have Arsenal surprised me this season?" asked Lampard. "Yes and no. To be fair, they are always in the top four and Champions League every year. I know they have been slightly off the pace in certain years, but I think they have improved and I have a lot of respect for Arsenal.
"At this stage, you can't look too far ahead. It is game by game, desire and focus every time. People ask what is the recipe for staying in front on the run-in, but there isn't one.
"It's a matter of the team being focused and driven, every week, and that means the staff, the management and every individual in the squad being on their game. I think we have got that mentality, but we've got to show it.
"Maybe Arsenal don't have experience of winning the title in their squad, but they have a lot of quality and every team has to break the mould some time. We have full respect for them, that's for sure.
"Manchester City didn't have experience of winning the Premier League a couple of years ago but they won it, so I wouldn't place too much emphasis on that.
"For me, it's very simple. You worry about yourselves, look after your own game. If we do that in as many games as possible between now and the end of the season, we'll give ourselves a great chance."