Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has praised Chelsea’s new signings but said Frank Lampard must show progress after his summer spending spree.
The international break is finally over and the Blues will be back in action on Saturday (17 October) for the Premier League home fixture against Southampton.
So far it hasn’t been an ideal start to the season for Chelsea, having dropped five points from their first four games.
The 4-0 win over Crystal Palace prior to the break revealed positive shoots, however, with five of Lampard’s summer signings making the starting line-up including Ben Chilwell, whose goal began the rout.
Hasenhuttl is aware the trip to Stamford Bridge will be a tough challenge for his team.
But he also argued Chelsea are under pressure themselves to deliver after their big spending.
He told the media at his pre-match press conference (via Football London): “If they are not better than last season then that’s a lot of money for nothing, so they have to be better.
“They have so much quality now with Kai Havertz and others.
“They are a team who are prepared to win titles 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.”
Hasenhuttl is likely to have devised a plan to shut down Chelsea’s attackers, with his former player Timo Werner likely to be in the starting line-up.
The two were together at Leipzig for two seasons – 2016/17 and 2017/18 – and Hassenhutl knows the Germany international really well.
He told Sport Bild: “Football is very intense and fast [in England]. That, in turn, suits Timo. With his speed he’s a brutal weapon in the right team.
“He sometimes needs a shoulder to lean on or a little more encouragement but what I’ve always liked about him is he scores goals that nobody else scores.
“Give him a bit of space and it’s hard to stop him. He has so many qualities that will always put him above others.”