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We won't ease off warns Lampard.

Byline: By Simon Stone

Frank Lampard has warned Chelsea's championship rivals to forget any idea the history-chasers are about to step off the gas.

Jose Mourinho's men begin the campaign as overwhelming favourites to retain their Premiership crown and become only the fifth side in history to record a hat-trick of titles.

In an effort to find a bit of encouragement for their own challenge, some rival bosses, notably Sir Alex Ferguson, have suggested the Blues could get distracted by their desire to conquer Europe and the arrivals of Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko represent a switch in emphasis away from the home front.

Lampard dismisses the theory completely.

Chelsea's domestic campaign may not have got off on the best note with a Community Shield defeat to Liverpool.

But the England midfielder is adamant once the real combat begins against Manchester City on Sunday, the Blues will be fully primed for the task that lies ahead.

"We won't relax. We are too professional to step off the gas," he said.

"There is the right attitude among the squad and we intend to push each other on.

"There is no danger in having too much quality. We are not just good players, we are good professionals."

Lampard expects the major threats to come from Arsenal, Manchester United and a Liverpool side who appear to have found a way of overcoming Chelsea in one-off games if not during the league season.

If the bookmakers are to be believed, the challenge will be non-existent, although that is not a theory Lampard is buying into either.

"Some people may be writing the championship off but we aren't," he said.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2006
Words:275
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