Frank Lampard expects Chelsea to challenge for the Premier League title if former boss Jose Mourinho rejoins the club.
Lampard, who has signed a one-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge, believes Mourinho will bring a “battering ram mentality” to Chelsea if he returns to west London.
The Portuguese coach is widely expected to leave Real Madrid and rejoin Chelsea at the end of the current campaign, with interim Blues boss Rafael Benitez set to depart after the season finale against Everton on Sunday.
Lampard was a key member of the Chelsea squad in Mourinho’s previous spell in charge and the veteran midfielder feels the current Real boss will bring consistency back to the club.
Chelsea won back-to-back titles under Mourinho in 2005 and 2006 but have managed just one league crown since, under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010.
Lampard admits his side have fallen behind the two Manchester clubs in recent years but he fully expects to challenge for the Premier League title if, as expected, Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
“City and United have raised the bar and we need to get back to that battering ram mentality we had before, winning games 1-0 even when we’re not at our best,” said Lampard.
“We need to be able to close ranks and grind out results again as too many times in recent years we’ve had a bad month when everything has dropped away.
“When we won the title under Jose we were criticised for the fact we were so dogged but we certainly need to get some of that mentality back in our game.
“It doesn’t mean taking away the beautiful football entirely because we have to cater for the creative players we have and get them into our team. But there has to be a happy medium because challenging for the league again next season is a huge priority and if Jose does come back it will be a huge lift for this club.”
“He’s the greatest manager in Chelsea’s history and changed the whole mentality of the place to turn us into a winning club,” he added.
“The fans idolise him and those players who haven’t worked with him before will soon understand that he’ll come in and give them the extra edge that will turn us back into a consistent force.”