Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admits that the club's two-window transfer ban makes the challenge of competing in this season's Champions League that much harder, but insists he and his squad intent to go as far as they can with what they have at their disposal.
The Blues will learn their European fate for this season on Thursday, when UEFA hold the draw to find out who will face each other in the competition's group stages.
The strongest teams on the continent will face each other for club football's most coveted award, and Lampard hopes that the strength of the Premier League will put his young Chelsea side in good stead for handling those pressures.
“It's a big challenge for us as a team,” Lampard said ahead of the draw. “We know that with the difficulties of the ban and where we’re at. But it shouldn’t take away from the great challenge that it is to try to do well in [the Champions League].
“I think the Premier League is so strong and that is clear when you have two teams [like Man City and Liverpool]. Manchester City are clearly absolutely a top team in world football.
“I think the English teams are strong at the moment and I hope that continues, because I think that's great for us in England and the Premier League.”
The Stamford Bridge side find themselves in pot 1 for the draw, meaning they can avoid various league champions, while they also cannot draw another English side.
And, having won the Europa League while taking third place in the Premier League during a positive 2019-20 for the club, the former midfielder is glad to have his side back in the mix with football's biggest names after a handful of uncertain seasons in London.
“It’s important for us, it’s where we want to be,” Lampard added. “It gets tougher every year, coming third last year and winning the Europa League gets them that [elite] status. It is where we want to be.
“I had some great nights in it, great moments and great memories. Talking about the players, they want to play in it and show what we are about.
“It is nice that we are there. It means that we need to keep our league performances up now to be there next year and tackle it head on.
“It is the greatest club competition in football and I was lucky enough to win it once. I’m looking forward to working in it as a manager.”