Lampard hungry for Chelsea to sustain dominance

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The Independent Football

The blue and white ribbons are still to be attached to the championship trophy but the main protagonists are already looking to next season's campaign.

In the wake of Chelsea's draw against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, which all but confirmed his team's first title in 50 years, Frank Lampard emphasised that one championship would not be enough. For the outgoing title holders, Philippe Senderos stressed that Arsenal had proved they were as good as Chelsea, and that they would be pushing them all the way in 2005-06.

Relations between the clubs are better than between Arsenal and Manchester United, largely because many of the players know each other socially and at international level, but each could not resist a little dig at the opposition.

"It doesn't matter that we didn't beat Arsenal - what matters is who wins the league, it's as simple as that," Lampard said. "We're 11 points clear and that's a big difference. We're one step closer. The championship is almost there. The hard thing now is to back it up. It's well documented that the second title is harder to win than the first. Arsenal have been a dominant force, the team for the past few years, but they haven't won [back-to-back] titles.

"Next season we'll start all over again. This year we're the best team. We have to make sure that we're not just the best team this year but the best for future seasons. We're all hungry. We have a good squad and we're not going to settle for one championship. This is extra special for us because it's such a long time since we last won it, but we want to win everything we're involved in and will play with the same attitude next year."

Senderos responded: "This season Chelsea have been consistent and doing well so we have to congratulate them, but we have played well too and we showed on Wednesday there is not a big gap between the two teams. We have shown that Arsenal are one of the best in England - if not the best. Next season we are going to continue to work hard and show that we are one of the best teams."

As ever, Chelsea are being linked with new recruits from Steven Gerrard to Ashley Cole but Senderos said financial strength was not necessarily decisive.

"Money doesn't play football," he said. "They can buy however many players they want. Next season there could be another team for Chelsea. But I don't think the money will play on the pitch. The team do that and our spirit will show everyone that the team is there."

While Lampard has matured to the extent that he is the leading candidate, with John Terry, to be Footballer of the Year, Senderos is in his debut Premiership season. After an uncertain start the 20-year-old Swiss has developed so rapidly as a player that it is 10 matches since he was in a defence that conceded a goal. That run includes club games against Bayern Munich and Chelsea and an international against France.

"The more games you play, the more confidence you get and the more mature you become," he said. "It's always good that the coach [Arsène Wenger] believes in us and plays us in games like this. By playing me at Chelsea the coach has given me more confidence. But I have to keep my feet on the ground. I've been playing well, and the team has been doing well, and that helps me but now Sol Campbell is coming back and there is competition. We will have to fight for our places."

The target is the FA Cup final - the only Swiss to have played in it to date is Stephane Henchoz, whose hands played a crucial role in Liverpool's defeat of Arsenal in 2001.

"I will work hard to show I can be ready for that," Senderos said.