Frank Lampard saw the club’s best player moved on in the summer, while also landing a transfer ban, so expectations are being reined in at the Bridge
Finishing sixth would be “a good season” for Chelsea, says Glen Johnson, with the Blues needing to regroup after losing Eden Hazard and being stung with a two-window transfer ban.
Those at Stamford Bridge headed into the summer of 2019 aware that they faced a number of challenges.
FIFA had already informed them an embargo on recruiting new players would be put in place, while Belgian forward Hazard was always expected to leave for Real Madrid.
Maurizio Sarri also departed west London, leaving a managerial void for Frank Lampard to fill, and re-establishing stability is going to take time.
Club legend Lampard has made impressive progress to this point, with notable victories secured in the Premier League and Champions League, but there is still much work to be done.
With that in mind, and taking fierce competition for top-four finishes into account, Johnson believes securing European qualification for 2020-21 would be a decent result for the Blues.
The former Chelsea defender told talkSPORT: “The way they can’t sign anyone, they lost their best player and can’t replace him.
“They’ve got to give kids a chance and some of them have never played in the Premier League before.
“I think sixth would be a good season for them.”
Lampard will feel that Champions League spots are there to be shot at, with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal struggling for consistency at present.
Others, such as Leicester and West Ham, have come into the mix, but Chelsea have plenty of ability at their disposal.
They are placing plenty of trust in academy graduates, but Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have thrived to this point and are all in the latest England squad.
Abraham has been the star man, netting eight goals in all competitions, and Johnson admits to being impressed by the 22-year-old and the Blues’ faith in those coming through the system.
He added: “I didn’t know Tammy Abraham was capable of this last season. So it’s great to see.
“Maybe there’s more out there and if they’re given a chance, they’ll take it with both hands.
“My young one is at Chelsea’s academy and we see Jody Morris over there, it’s the Under-8s!
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“Them boys are well off in terms of the timeline, but they’re looking at all of the age groups and building bridges up to the first team.
“Normally the first team is miles away from the academy and none of the kids will ever get an opportunity.”