'They need to stand up… it cannot be understated how big mentality is': Frank Lampard urges senior players to take responsibility as Chelsea look to bounce back from Sheffield United mauling to keep top four bid on track

Frank Lampard has urged his Chelsea players to stand up and find their voices ahead of a ‘critical time’ in their top four pursuit.

The pressure in the chase for Champions League football has been cranked up on the chasing pack behind Liverpool and Manchester City after the latter’s ban was overturned, meaning only a top four finish will guarantee a spot in Europe’s top competition next season.

Chelsea have their fate in their own hands with three games left though Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United underlined issues that Lampard has detected throughout the season.

Lampard bemoaned only being able to hear Sheffield United voices as his side went down, something even more noticeable in the absence of fans.

Ahead of Norwich’s visit on Tuesday night, Lampard, whose side also have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Sunday, said: ‘I’ve got big personalities and there will be big personalities in the team. They need to stand up.

‘Show the quality they’ve shown for big parts of the season. I trust they will do and because we’re at the business end it’s very important that they do. It cannot be understated how big mentality is.

‘How big attitude is. When you talk about players it is very easy and natural to look at talent but you also have to look at attitude and character within the team.

‘We’re in a good place but it’s something we can improve. 

‘Younger players can be more vocal, grow as they go along. Older players can take on responsibility of helping that as well.

‘Critical times like this, where there’s a lot on the line, it’s time for people to make that improvement. It is much easier to improve opening your mouth than it is to beat three players and put it in the top corner.’

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