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Lampard trying to temper title talk among Chelsea players

Excitement is growing within his young squad. Within Stamford Bridge it is impossible to ignore the feeling that they are onto something special.  

Their form immediately before the international break only added to the sense of expectation that their title credentials are very real.  

With Lampard still to name what would be considered his strongest XI, a much-changed squad has clicked ahead of schedule.  

Four straight wins, scoring 14 goals and conceding just one, pointed their rapid development after introducing six new additions in the summer.  

Callum Hudson-Odoi revealed the feeling within the dressing room this week and the belief they are genuine title contenders.  

In his private moments Lampard would have to admit his personal satisfaction at seeing such wide-spread changes come together so quickly. But he has taken on the role of tempering expectations among such a young squad.

“I get it,” he said. “I like confidence, I like the players feeling like that.

“For me, it is my job to dampen what he said there and say that we know there is a long way to go, we are eight games in.  

“We are in a decent position, recently we are playing well, but there are so many things that we have to work on and improve on before we can start getting involved in that conversation. That’s up to us.”

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Memories of last season are sure to be fresh in Lampard’s mind when a flying start to the season gave way to a battle to cling on to fourth place and Champions League qualification.  

But this is a very different Chelsea squad this time around – while champions Liverpool and Manchester City are failing to maintain the levels of recent years.

Jurgen Klopp is facing up to an injury crisis, with Virgil van Dijk out for the season and Joe Gomez likely to miss the majority of it.  

Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, is transitioning his team following the departures of key figures in Vincent Kompany and David Silva, while Sergio Aguero’s age and fitness record is a growing issue.  

Lampard has added some of the best talent in Europe in the form of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, while the defensive frailties of last season have been resolved by the signings of Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy.  

There is also the title-winning know-how in the form of Silva, N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta.  

The greatest unknown is how Lampard will deal with leading a title charge against managerial greats like Klopp, Guardiola and Jose Mourinho at Tottenham.  

He accepts he is learning on the job – but strong opinions on what makes an effective leader.

“There are so many facets to it,” he said. “As a leader, in simple terms, you have to be someone the team wants to follow and set a marker for it.  

“I think in the modern day it has to be someone who is at close quarters with their players. I think man management is such a huge part of your job.  

“The squad we have now, which is a really strong squad, I have to make sure I am close to them all professionally and slightly off the pitch as well so I can get the best out of them individually and collectively.  

“That’s man management and being humble. A humble leader is always someone I would have reacted to in regular conversations with their players.”  

Should Chelsea sit at the top of the table come Saturday afternoon, keeping humble will be that much more difficult.  

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