LONDON - Frank Lampard has followed up his return to action after a three-month absence by predicting that Chelsea will retain the Premier League title if they reproduce the spirit shown in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Lampard, out since August with groin problems, came on for the last 12 minutes at White Hart Lane and, despite seeing two more points disappear when Didier Drogba missed a stoppage-time penalty, was buoyed by his team's performance.
"If we play with the spirit we showed, I have no doubt we'll win the league, because we've got the quality in our team," Lampard told Chelsea TV on Monday.
"Injuries have been tough on us, certain moments have been tough on us. But with the spirit and ability we've got in our team, if we play like that, I've got all confidence that we can do it.
"Man City are there now, Man United, Arsenal and teams like Tottenham are pushing behind. So we have to be at our best. But I think if we are at our best then I think we can go and win it."
Arsenal, who host Manchester United later on Monday lead the way with 32 points, the same as Manchester City. United are third on 31 with Chelsea fourth, also on 31 but from two more games than United.
Lampard showed no ill-effects from his cameo on Monday and if he comes through another run in a friendly on Thursday he expects to start next Sunday's game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have desperately missed Lampard, not just for his extraordinary goal return, but for his relentless midfield promptings and his return will revitalise a campaign that has brought just six points from the last seven games.
Whether he reclaims the penalty-taking duties is still to be decided, however. Lampard initially picked the ball up after Heurelho Gomes's foul on Ramirez but tossed it to Drogba, who had earlier cancelled out Roman Pavlyuchenko's opener.
"I trained two days with the lads this week and haven't practiced a penalty in three months," Lampard said.
"I always like to practice them and I thought it would've been wrong for me to come on and try to take personal glory scoring a winner on my return rather than Didi take it, who's been fit and playing and practising and scoring them.
"I could easily say I would have buried it but that's not the case always - we can all miss them - and credit for Didier for stepping up.