Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has amped up the pressure on Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match, by claiming the volume of money spent by the Blues this summer means he has to deliver visible improvement on the field.
Chelsea were the biggest spenders across Europe in the summer transfer window, lavishing a total of £222m on seven first-team players including Kai Havertz, Timo Werner – a player Hasenhuttl is very familiar with having worked with him extensively at RB Leipzig – and England international Ben Chilwell.
It’s provided Lampard with a staggeringly strong squad, with options across the park, to the point that World Cup winner N’Golo Kante is a peripheral figure.
But with great spending comes great responsibility, and Hasenhuttl has indicated that show of faith from the board means Lampard has to match it with performances and points of a similar-sized level.
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“If they are not better than last season then that’s a lot of money for nothing, so they have to be better,” Hasenhuttl said, ahead of Saturday’s game between the sides at Stamford Bridge.
“They have so much quality now with Kai Havertz and others. They are a team who are prepared to win title and trophies so it will be more difficult than last season, maybe.
“The level is high and we have to reach their level otherwise it will be difficult to get something.”
Chelsea finished fourth in Lampard’s first season in charge, averaging 1.74 points per game; a campaign underpinned by a transfer embargo which prohibited him from strengthening his squad with new signings.
With Havertz and Werner now regulars and Brazilian centre-back Thiao Silva, who signed from PSG, working his way into the team over the last two fixtures, Chelsea have won twice, drawn one and…