Frank Lampard embraces pressure of Chelsea's spending spree

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard yesterday brushed aside talk of pressure on him to deliver a title after a successful transfer window, saying his new recruits must hit the ground running to help them close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.

Lampard deployed a number of youth players last season as they finished fourth in the English Premier League, 33 points behind champions Liverpool and 15 behind second-placed City.

The Blues have signed Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz in the close season to boost their chances this time around.

"I'm surprised if you didn't think I wasn't under pressure last season. I thrive off the pressure. It's what I love doing," Lampard told reporters ahead of their season opener against Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday morning (Singapore time).

"I didn't come in the job to fight for fourth place or bring academy players in, I came here to win.

"Last year, we couldn't recruit and this year, the club have made the decision to bring in players. It changes the landscape, we're ready to work."

Ziyech will miss the Brighton game due to a knee injury, while Silva and Chilwell are still regaining full match fitness.

Blues striker Michy Batshuayi has rejoined Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal. The Belgian, 26, returns to Selhurst Park, where he scored six goals in 13 gamesr during a previous loan spell. - REUTERS