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Mar, 26, 2012

'We're not as good as we used to be'

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard believes the players have no-one but themselves to blame for their current struggles in the league - because for much of the season they simply have not been good enough.

• Cech issues Blues warning
• Cahill: We must believe
• Sturridge prefers central role

The Blues currently sit five points adrift of Tottenham in the race for fourth in the Premier League and the all-important final qualification place for the Champions League, after missing the chance to close the gap with a 0-0 draw against Harry Redknapp's side in Saturday's early kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

The club remain in this year's Champions League, however - with a good chance to progress to the semi-finals - but Lampard believes the side's struggles domestically have revealed a few home truths.

"The fixtures and where we are in the table doesn't lie - we're not as good as we used to be," Lampard said. "We used to have a fortress here and, for whatever reason, we're just not doing it. It's something we must all put right.

"You know a derby against a very good Tottenham side is going to be tough. But I don't think we were at it enough. We had to play more with the urgency we showed against Napoli.

"Against Tottenham, we didn't really do enough to lift the fans. We had the high of Napoli, then we got beaten by Manchester City and now we need to up it again."

He added: "Chelsea should be in the top four. No disrespect to the other top-five clubs but, with the ability we have, we should be in there.

"[But] There is no point being downbeat about it at the minute. It's five points and the gap has been bigger than that. It's up to us now to get ourselves right for Benfica and the league games coming up."

With just eight games remaining in the league, Lampard knows further slip-ups will prove especially costly.

"[Our position is] due to dropping points throughout the season, not drawing with Tottenham at home. It's losing games we should have won home and away," he said. "We have to take all the league games now as knockout matches. It's very cliched but we're fighting from behind, and if we lose a game and lose points then the gap is bigger and the amount of games left is shorter.

"So we know, especially after that draw, the gap is still five points and there is no more room for slip-ups."

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