Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley admits there is just as much pressure on Blues boss Frank Lampard as his opposite number Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of tonight’s clash against Manchester United.
Both sides return from the Premier League winter break to a baptism of fire in what could be a decisive game to secure Champions League football for next season.
Chelsea can extend their lead above United to nine points and give themselves some breathing space in fourth, which would guarantee them a spot in next season’s Champions League.
And Burley admits that United, who have excelled against the better teams this season as shown by their 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening day of the season, could be a real nuisance for Chelsea this evening.
Burley told ESPN FC: “Better teams sometimes come at them and they’re defending, they win the ball back, and then they’re able to play that quick ball over the top.
“When they’re playing some of the poorer teams and it’s more 60/40 [possession] to United, they’ve got a shield in front of them of eight or nine bodies.
“They’ve not in general had the players to break those scenarios down often enough.
“[They’ve not had] Pogba in there to find a pass, we’ve seen Juan Mata do it now and again
“They’re going to have a Chelsea side that’s in front of them, they’re going to go at them, and it’s whether they can hit Chelsea on the counter with enough quality going the other way.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Lampard as well. If this poor United side go to Stamford Bridge and win, and once again but Chelsea under pressure for the final Champions League spot, that’s going to pile more pressure on the Chelsea manager.
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“If he [Lampard] doesn’t get them in this top five, which it looks like it’s going to be now for the Champions League, from the position they were in, there’s going to be a heck of a lot of questions on him.
“So this is not a one way street with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the manager in the other dugout is under a lot of pressure as well.”
- Chelsea FC
- Manchester United FC
- Premier League
- Champions League
- Frank Lampard
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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