Eden Hazard departed Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid this summer in a deal worth up to £150m and now former teammate, Ross Barkley insists the club will still thrive under Frank Lampard.
Lampard must replace the Belgian’s goals and assists from within the club because Chelsea are serving a transfer ban.
”We will all step up to the plate,’ said Barkley. ‘You have to fill in. Everyone in the squad understands that he was a great player but he is gone.
”He has new challenges now and we have to replace his goals and create the chances.
”Last season when Eden wasn’t playing we still won games, we still created chances.
”We know he is an exceptional player but we have exceptional players in the squad and young players like Callum Hudson-Odoi who is coming back from injury and we have signed Christian Pulisic.
”We have wingers who can create from tight positions, players who can shoot from distance and strikers – young and experienced – who are hungry for goals.’
”We have all come back from pre-season hungry, especially under the new manager,’ said Barkley. ‘We are all working hard every day in training and doing double sessions all the time, getting ready for the new season.
”There is a lot we can improve on, against Reading as we conceded three goals but we scored four so there were positives too.’
Lampard has made a big impact on the academy graduates at Chelsea by promising them the pathway to the first team.
For Barkley, signed from Everton in January 2018, it is the chance to work closely with one of his heroes and someone famed for scoring goals from midfield.
”He was one of my idols as a kid,’ said the 25-year-old. ‘I was always watching Match of the Day and you saw him every week scoring goals.
”Now he is our manager, and it is brilliant for all the players in the squad. He’s a legend of the game: the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history and so we are going to take all he has to give us.
”He has got all the respect from the players for the player he was and the person he is. Every day whether it be around the building or on the training pitch, he is speaking to everyone trying to give them tips on how to improve.
”He will help all the midfielders. I’ve been playing a bit further forward. He’s told me to think like a striker, especially as a number 10, but to help out defensively and work hard off the ball.’