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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

'Normal service has been resumed' - Lampard

Frank Lampard feels Chelsea are starting to show the traits of champions again.

The Blues kept the pressure on Barclays Premiership leaders Manchester United with a 1-0 win at Charlton.

England midfielder Lampard scored his 17th goal of the season midway through the first half.

Chelsea could have run out more convincing winners but for a solid display from Charlton's on-loan keeper Scott Carson, named in the under-21s squad for the friendly against Spain.

At the other end, Petr Cech ensured another clean sheet with some fine saves, denying Amady Faye twice in the second half.

Captain John Terry returned for the closing stages following six weeks out with a back problem, and Lampard feels the Blues will soon all be playing to their own high standards again.

He said: 'We have been back to our normal selves lately, for sure.

'What we have done over the past two years we kind of lost over Christmas a bit, but we are getting it back now.

'Any club would miss JT or Petr Cech and it came at a critical time as well.

'I am sure we would have had more points on the board had they been playing because they are so important to us.'

Lampard added: 'We are trying to close the gap and so we have to forget what has happened and look forward.

'All we can do is keep putting pressure on Manchester United. That is all that is ever asked of us.

'Obviously this is a new thing for us to be behind because we have been in front for the past two years, but it is still the same pressure on us to keep winning.'

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Terry is ready to return to lead England against Spain - but warned against expecting too much of the centre-half too soon.

However, it is understood the key defender will not be risked by Steve McClaren at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Lampard said: 'I would only like to see John play for England if he is ready for it and it is right for him.

'It seems like he has been out for an eternity now, so he will want to play - but it will be up to him, the Chelsea medical staff and the England medical staff to discuss whether he plays or not.

'If he can get a bit of the game then fair enough, if not then he can have an extra week's training to get fit for next week.'

Lampard added: 'It means a lot to us psychologically to have John back on the pitch again.

'It was only 10 minutes or so, but he will get stronger and that will make us stronger as a team.'