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Frank Lampard warns of Chelsea 'disaster'

Lampard tips Torres to shine

By Dan Roan
BBC sports news correspondent

Frank Lampard has admitted it would be a "disaster" if Chelsea failed to qualify for next season's Champions League.

A goalless draw against Fulham on Monday saw the champions remain in fifth place in the Premier League.

With Chelsea trailing leaders Manchester United by 12 points, the 32-year-old midfielder denied that the cup competitions were now the priority.

Speaking at the launch of the England Footballers' Foundation, Lampard told BBC Sport: "We must finish in the top four and can never take our eye off the ball, it would be a disaster if we didn't qualify."

Chelsea host Everton in round four of the FA Cup on Saturday and play FC Copenhagen in the first knockout round of the Champions League three days later.

And Lampard admitted that the two competitions were now vital to his club.

He said: "There's huge importance because you can see the league's going to be difficult and that means it's more important to reach finals."

We haven't performed as well, there's been injuries, and some unsettling moments, but if you don't perform you fall behind in the title race

Frank Lampard

The club's record signing Fernando Torres has failed to score in the two matches he has played since his £50m move from Liverpool but Lampard also backed his team-mate to star for his new club.

"He's made a huge difference," he said. "No, he hasn't scored in two games but all the spotlight is on him.

"There's a huge responsibility, people are looking to him to do it instantly, but he will make a difference to us.

"He's a top-class player, he has boosted the lads already and for sure will come good, he's going to add to us in a big way.

"David Luiz has come in as well and has been fantastic."

With £25m for Luiz, Chelsea splashed out £75m on transfer window deadline day and Lampard said he was delighted by the January spending spree.

"I was slightly surprised but it was very exciting and I was pleased," he said.

"It's a huge boost to have such quality players that we needed at the time.

"We haven't spent much in recent years compared to some by our standards, but last season we won the [League and FA Cup] double and this was a good time for us to go into the market.

"I'm just thankful we've got the funds to do this."

Frank Lampard
Lampard has been at Chelsea since 2001

Lampard admitted Chelsea's inconsistent form this season has been down to "a few factors".

"We haven't performed as well, there's been injuries, and some unsettling moments, but if you don't perform you fall behind in the title race and that's the reason really."

Lampard is the nephew of Harry Redknapp, and after seeing his uncle mastermind Spurs' victory over AC Milan on Tuesday, the Chelsea player admitted he would like to see him manage England after Fabio Capello steps down in 2012.

"There'd be a few candidates," he said. "It's for him and the FA to decide but it'd be nice if it were an English manager.

"At the moment Harry's doing a fantastic job at Spurs and if he has an opportunity to manage England I'm sure he'd be an outstanding manager. But at the moment we have to play for Capello and we have to win something."

Lampard captained England to victory over Denmark on 9 February but insists there is still a lot of work to do before the national team can claim to have fully recovered from their World Cup debacle in South Africa.

"Since the World Cup we've had good and not so good results," he said.

"We haven't turned the corner yet. That is a process and takes time.

"When we reach the European Championships and do better than we did at the World Cup then we can say we have."

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see also
Cech rues latest Chelsea slip-up
15 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
14 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Denmark 1-2 England
09 Feb 11 |  Football
Ancelotti writes off title hopes
11 Feb 11 |  Chelsea
Arnesen defends Chelsea spending
08 Feb 11 |  Chelsea
Ancelotti dismisses Lampard claim
14 Jan 11 |  Chelsea
Redknapp eyes England manager job
10 Sep 10 |  Football

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