Frank Lampard has admitted that Chelsea’s over-inflated squad has been the biggest problem he has faced during his spell as interim boss.
That spell involved just one win in 11 matches, with eight defeats, and ended with a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle.
The club are expected to offload a number of players this summer.
Lampard believes that needs to happen in order for Chelsea to improve on a dismal season – and that players not being clear about their futures has been a major reason for poor performances.
He explained: “The squad has been too big – and that’s the biggest challenge I’ve found day-to-day, coming in and trying to work with big numbers and players that, for whatever reason, are a bit disillusioned because they’re not playing or might be leaving and these things.
“Those situations can maybe be sorted out now, and they have to be.
“It’s hard to compete at this level if some players are in that sort of middle ground – and too many are and that’s been a thing.
“So maybe getting to the end of it now is a good thing, whether someone has their eye on somewhere else, or the club want them to leave or they want to leave – all these things – now we get to the bottom of it quickly.”
Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League – the first time they have finished in the bottom half of the table since 1996.
And former Blues midfielder Lampard, the club’s all-time top goalscorer, said “standards have dropped” among the players this season.
He added: “I can be honest about that, particularly because it’s my last game. I might not see some of them that much anymore anyway.
“The standards as a collective, for a club like Chelsea, have to be at the maximum or you won’t be physically competitive enough and you won’t be able to play at a high level in a way that the Premier League demands.
“If you’re not together in the dressing room, are vocal and driving each other and are competitive – any top team has to have that.
“When I came in, very quickly I could see that wasn’t there enough. Everyone involved in that needs to take responsibility.”