LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea must guard against over-confidence when they take on winless bottom club Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Frank Lampard said on Friday.
Though Chelsea bowed out of the League Cup with a 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United on Wednesday, they have won their last four matches in the Premier League and have climbed to fourth.
There is a real buzz around Stamford Bridge about Lampard’s youthful side, but the club’s record goalscorer knows that bad results can be just around the corner waiting to bite.
“On paper they are bottom of the league but they are wounded and a good team,” Lampard, who will again be without N’Golo Kante, told reporters on Friday.
“The good thing about our winning run was how we dealt with different challenges. Watford will be another test for us. If you want to be top four you need to show consistency.
“With the winning run every game became more dangerous because of overconfidence. We know Watford’s personnel is similar to last year and we can’t underestimate a team that will be hurting. We’ll be certainly even more focused.”
Chelsea face a big week with Ajax Amsterdam at home on Tuesday in the Champions League and then a London derby against Crystal Palace.
“We’ve had a good period but that could be lost in these next three games,” Lampard warned.
Christian Pulisic scored a hat-trick for Chelsea last week in the 4-2 win at Burnley, but the young American is not guaranteed to start against Watford.
Michy Batshuayi scored a superb goal against United and Lampard also has youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi pushing for a regular starting place.
“There’s competition for places. That’s good. It keeps them on edge and means they have to perform to keep their place,” Lampard said. “I’m not here to rotate for the sake of it.”
As well as Kante, Chelsea are also without defender Antonio Rudiger on Saturday despite reports he was fit.
“He’ not fit,” Lampard said. “I saw the quotes but there’s a miscommunication somewhere and he’s going to see a consultant on Monday because he has an ongoing issue in his pelvic area.
“We’ll have to wait until then for a further update.”
Lampard, however, said Kante could be ready to face Ajax.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)