‘Lampard starting to sound like mentor Mourinho’ – Chelsea are in Premier League title race, says Hoddle

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The Blues boss says talk of a challenge for the crown is “ridiculous”, but one of his predecessors considers those comments to be mind games

Frank Lampard is starting to sound like his Chelsea managerial mentor Jose Mourinho, says Glenn Hoddle, with the Blues very much in a Premier League title race despite their manager considering that debate to be “ridiculous”.

On the back of sizeable investment during the summer transfer window, those at Stamford Bridge are under pressure to force their way back into contention for domestic supremacy.

A positive start has been made to that quest, with the odd bump in the road hit along the way.

Lampard has sought to curb expectations at regular intervals, with the Chelsea legend eager to point out that he is working towards long-term goals in west London.

Hoddle considers such comments to be part of the mind games that have become commonplace in modern football, with few bosses prepared to talk up the claims of their respective sides to the grandest of prizes.

Former Blues boss Mourinho, who Lampard enjoyed many trophy-laden years playing under, has made a career out of diverting attention away from the supposed task that he has in hand.

One of his protégés is now taking a similar approach, with Hoddle of the opinion that Chelsea and Tottenham will be there or thereabouts when major honours are handed out in May.

The ex-Blues and Spurs player and coach told the Evening Standard when quizzed on Lampard downplaying title talk: “It is a little bit like Jose Mourinho saying Tottenham are like a ‘little pony’ in the race compared to the thoroughbred racehorses. I can see where Frank is coming from.

“But if there is ever a season where someone can come through and win the Premier League, it could be this year. You only have to look at the results this past weekend.

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“Now Chelsea brought in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, they have unbelievable firepower, and they have brought Thiago Silva in and brought in a goalkeeper which seems to have sorted their defensive issues.

“I can see why Frank is underplaying it, and yes Liverpool and Manchester City are still the favourites, but Chelsea and Tottenham are in with a fighting chance.”

Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat at Everton in their last Premier League outing, but they remain fifth in the table and are only three points back on pacesetting Spurs and Liverpool.

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