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By ESPN Staff

Blues need to step it up - Lampard

Frank Lampard admits Chelsea have not worked hard enough to arrest their alarming slide down the Premier League.

Lampard believes a lack of confidence and quality have also played their part in the club's worst run of league results for almost 15 years. But it is his suggestion the champions have not been putting in enough of the hard yards that will give most cause for concern.

It could be viewed as implied criticism of his team-mates, with the 32-year-old having sat out virtually all of the club's miserable run through injury. And, perhaps worryingly for manager Carlo Ancelotti, Lampard compared the current slump of one league win in nine to that which saw Luiz Felipe Scolari sacked by the club almost two years ago.

''There was a time like this near the end of the Luiz Felipe Scolari reign when we were struggling to get wins,'' said Lampard. ''Everyone has spells like that to an extent but this one has been a little more prolonged over a period of time.

''That's the upsetting thing. It is certainly time for us to change it now. Not winning games is the biggest thing that has affected us.

''There are quite a few reasons for that, a lack of confidence being one of them, but there has also been a lack of quality and workrate. We need to step it up across the board to get back to where we want to be.

''Everyone at Chelsea understands we're not expected to have the run of results we've had. We have high standards and the results we've had the last two months is not the level we expect.

''The league games coming up are very important and we need to take the spirit and energy we showed against Ipswich, which has maybe been lacking before, into the next few matches.''

Chelsea looked like running away with the Premier League two months ago but have dropped 23 of the last 33 points on offer to fall nine behind Manchester United having played a game more.

And Lampard knows the 7-0 romp against an Ipswich side in disarray following the sacking of manager Roy Keane will mean nothing if last season's double winners do not carry some momentum into Saturday's game with Blackburn.

''The important thing is not to think we're back but make sure that we carry this performance over and get a few wins together,'' he said. ''Earlier in the season, we were up at the top of the table playing great stuff but now we're not and it's a test of the squad and a test of the character.

''You can't always be winning leagues and going on a great run where you're winning 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, like we were at the back end of last season. Sometimes, it's not rosy and that's when you have to stand up individually, put your hard work in and help the team turn it around.''

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