Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants his young players to thrive under the pressure of the club’s new £230million signings, rather than fear the competition. Chelsea have spent big this summer, and will have a new-look starting XI on Monday night against Brighton.
Chelsea have been by far the most active team in the transfer market so far, spending nearly £250m with more deals on the way.
Kai Havertz became their record signing as he arrived in a deal worth up to £90m from Bayer Leverkusen, while they broke the £50m barrier twice for Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner.
Last season, Lampard was heavily reliant on young players, due in part to the club’s transfer ban.
Academy graduates like Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James were all brought into the fold, but will all have world-class competition for their places this season.
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Mount will have to compete with Havertz, Abraham with Werner, and Tomori will have legendary Brazilian Thiago Silva coming for his spot in the starting XI.
But despite the numerous changes coming, Lampard is adamant that his youngsters will see it as a challenge rather than a threat.
Speaking on Friday, he conceded that he might opt to speak with some of the fringe-level players to reassure them of their places in the squad, while drawing on his own experience as a player at the club.
“Sometimes you feel fit to speak to players depending on their personality, other times not,” Lampard said.
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“With me, I just saw it as a challenge. I referenced that before that when players come in to add to the squad, they might be in similar positions to you or not, but it lifts the team.
“It should lift the team. The players with the right mentality will up their game, make friends with the player, make them feel welcome and try to work within the squad as well as they can with them. “Hopefully, you see levels raised throughout the squad.
“I think that is something that did occur in those times. I was a young player, so was John (Terry), so were others in the group and I think that the core of young players in that group did react and we managed to form a good group going forward.
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“I expect them to be excited by the challenge of playing in this squad this year. I think we are searching for a story here. I don’t see it in those direct, competitive situations that we are trying to find.
“In a modern-day squad, much more than 17 years ago when we were talking about before, needs to have flexibility, needs to have competition. I don’t think we need to find direct battles at this point of the season, no.
“The team needs to be flexible. A lot of the time I am talking about players who can play in a variety of different positions, which is always great for the manager.
“I just see it as a group which is hopefully stronger than last year. And the players try to give everything for the team game after game.”
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