Lampard demands mental strength from Blues

Frank Lampard has urged Chelsea to develop a ruthless streak as the race for the BPL title approaches the final straight.

Eden Hazard (2nd left) of Chelsea is congratulated by team mates including Frank Lampard (right)

The leaders head for lowly Fulham on Saturday hoping to strengthen their position, with second-placed Arsenal facing a tricky trip to Stoke and Manchester City in Capital One Cup final action on Sunday.

With 11 matches remaining - City currently have a game in hand - Lampard knows the Blues' one-point advantage will count for little if they do not have the mental strength to stay on top of the pile.

He told the club's official website, chelseafc.com: "It's the crunch time when you need to get a winning mentality, a ruthlessness that whether you play well or badly, you get results.

"If you look at Fulham, they are fighting for their lives, so if we are not at it, they will get a result."

The Gunners could cash in on any slip-up by Jose Mourinho's men if they emerge from their visit to the Britannia Stadium with all three points, something they found difficult at times during Tony Pulis' reign as manager.

However, while manager Arsene Wenger is well aware of the potential significance of a win in the Potteries, he is refusing to look any further ahead than that one game.

He said: "We have to look at our results, just focus on that and not speculate too much because we are in a period where we have to move forward."

With City focusing on their day out at Wembley against Sunderland, fourth-placed Liverpool could leapfrog them with a win at Southampton in Saturday's tea-time kick-off, in the process avenging a 1-0 defeat at Anfield in September.

Manager Brendan Rodgers admits his free-scoring team remains a work in progress, but he will be happy as long as they continue winning games.

He said: "We don't put the team out every week to look nice, we are working to win. We won't play perfect football, but we have put ourselves in a great position with 11 games to go."

Merseyside neighbours Everton will attempt to bounce back from last weekend's heart-breaking last-gasp defeat at Chelsea when they host in-form West Ham, while Newcastle will look to build upon their home win over Aston Villa when they travel to Hull, who themselves are coming off a 4-0 triumph at Cardiff and FA Cup win over Brighton.

Tottenham have to wait until Sunday for a chance to atone for their 1-0 defeat at Norwich as a result of their involvement in the Europa League on Thursday evening, while Swansea entertain Crystal Palace with their European adventure now at an end.

Villa or Norwich, who are locked together on 28 points in 13th and 14th places respectively, could climb further clear of the fight for survival when they meet at Villa Park.



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