Frank Lampard has hit back at his critics, rejecting the idea he lacks experience and dismissing television punditry as an easy alternative to coaching or management.
The heat has been on since Chelsea lost 3-1 at home to Manchester City on Sunday, a defeat stretching a poor run of form to only one win in six games.
His team have slipped from top to ninth in the Premier League, but Lampard said: ‘If I didn’t want that challenge I could have sat on the telly and done an easier job.
‘I could have been a pundit, commenting on what everyone does with hindsight, whenever I want, and I don’t want to do that.
‘I’m very confident in what I do, whether people think I’ve been a manager for two-and-a-half years, or whatever. I’ve been playing football since I could walk. I’ve been playing professionally for 20-odd years.
‘I want to win games. I don’t like losing games. On Monday, I was disappointed because we lost to a team that was better than us on the day. On Tuesday, I woke up determined to get better and win our next game. That’s the way I see it.’
An FA Cup third round tie against Morecambe of League Two should bring some measure of relief for Chelsea, although N’Golo Kante will miss out as he rests a hamstring injury.
‘The only way out of a tough spell is to work hard, sprint and fight your way out,’ said Lampard and, on stories of discontent among marginalised players, he added: ‘Players who are not playing will not be happy. We have a big squad and there are some players not playing.
‘I don’t ask for them to be jumping up and down about how great I am. All I ask is that they train well, back their teammates and have a determined attitude every day. That’s it.
‘I don’t expect it to be a popularity contest for myself. I never felt that in the dressing room under any manager, at the best of times or in tough times. The point is players have to keep fighting.
‘We do not have the experience or stability of other clubs who have been doing it for the last two or three years. There will be bumpy moments. What we have to stick together.