LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Chelsea still have it in their own hands to clinch a Champions League berth and have exceeded expectations this season, manager Frank Lampard said after they lost 5-3 at Liverpool on Wednesday.
The defeat denied Chelsea an opportunity to make sure of a top-four finish and left them needing to pick up a point from their last match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday to be sure of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
“We should already have a feeling of achievement because not many people expected us to be in the top four but we now have it in our own hands,” Lampard said.
“We are at home at the (Stamford) Bridge but have a really strong opponent coming in Wolves and I’ve got belief in the players.
“I’ve seen a lot in the last two games against Manchester United and Liverpool what we are about. There’s been spirit and character in those two performances and we have to carry on with that on Sunday.”
Chelsea slipped down to fourth in the Premier League after Manchester United drew with West Ham United earlier on Wednesday and went ahead of the Blues on goal difference. Both have 63 points, one more than Leicester City, who host Manchester United on Sunday.
“I felt maybe we had to get over the line tonight and we contributed to a good game. On another night, at 4-3 we might have gone on and got a point,” said Lampard.
“But now we know what’s ahead of us. There will be a lot going on, on Sunday but what is important is that the players focus on ourselves. We cannot really affect what’s going on elsewhere.
“We’ve got character and quality in our group and I think we have what it takes to get over the line.”
Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond